Book on Table at 2:15 pm, 2014
I cannot read two Joan Didion books in a row. She's intense, often dark, and just really reaches in and grabs hold of me. I know I'll surrender and let her take me wherever she wants me to go. It's an endeavor that requires preparation.
After some random wandering in Browser Books on May 24th I bought Play It as It Lays. On May 28th Sarah brought the Literary Mothers project to my attention. This is where I found a short essay by Ashley Farmer that confirmed it was time to get started. Still, I waited. I wasn't ready.
I woke up today, June 6th, knowing I wasn't going to finish the current book I was reading. I started Play It as It Lays with my morning cappuccino. Damn she's good.
I'm only on page 26. I skipped the introduction because it is something I decided to do a while ago, with all art and writing. If possible (sometimes you learn of a work through another person's description), I don't read or listen to what anyone else thinks of whatever work I'm about to see until I form my own opinion. After I view the paintings, sculptures, photographs, or finish the book, I might look at what's been written about the work. I might not ever look. This is what works for me.
On pages 1-25 I've been introduced to Maria (Mar-eye-a) and a few other characters, but it is clear, it is Maria she really wants me to know. I'll share a bit of evidence:
From my mother I inherited my looks and a tendency to migraine. From my father I inherited an optimism which did not leave me until recently. page 5
So that she would not have to stop for food she kept a hard-boiled egg on the passenger seat of the Corvette. She could shell and eat a hard-boiled egg at seventy miles an hour (crack it on the steering wheel, never mind salt, salt bloats, no matter what happened she remembered her body) and she drank Coca-Cola in Union 76 stations, Standard stations, Flying A's. pages 17-18
The reception room was full of glossy plants in chinoiserie pots and Maria had an abrupt conviction that the plants were consuming the oxygen she needed to breathe. page 22
See what I mean? Okay, I'll say no more. I'll share no more. You might want to read this novel yourself, without first knowing too much of what anyone else thinks of it.