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175 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hard Language of Truth
I've been reading Joan Didion's work for nearly half a century--I got hooked by her early collection, Slouching Toward Bethlehem (1968) and have read every thing she's written since. For years I began my Contemporary American Literature class at San Diego State University with the famous first sentence from her collection, The White Album: "We tell ourselves stories in...
Published on November 2, 2011 by Federico (Fred) Moramarco

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130 of 161 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad taste in mouth after reading
I have always loved Joan Didion, to the point that I thought she could do no wrong. I would await each new book with absolutely no hesitation that I might not enjoy it. The same happened when I received "Blue Nights" and I launched right into it with the comfortable knowledge that I would surely love it.

About halfway through, I realized the biggest reaction I...
Published on November 21, 2011 by B. Tracy


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175 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hard Language of Truth, November 2, 2011
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This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
I've been reading Joan Didion's work for nearly half a century--I got hooked by her early collection, Slouching Toward Bethlehem (1968) and have read every thing she's written since. For years I began my Contemporary American Literature class at San Diego State University with the famous first sentence from her collection, The White Album: "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." I used that as a keynote to the course because I wanted students to understand that stories are not merely entertainment (although they can be that) but life essentials. Without them life as we know it would be impossible. Ask anyone a basic question: "Where are you from?" "What school did you go to? What do you do for a living? And so on, and he or she will tell you a story. We use stories to link together the disconnected moments of our lives, or as Didion so cogently puts it in "The White Album," "We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the `ideas' with which se have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience." "Shifting phantasmagoria"--that's how we perceive our lives-- just one thing after another. And sometimes those kaleidoscopic images can shift from bright dazzling colors to dark opaque hues with just a single twist of the lens.

This is of course what happened to Didion. As everyone knows, in the last several years she has suffered mightily. Her stunning, heartbreaking book, The Year of Magical Thinking, which told the story of her husband John Gregory Dunne's sudden, unexpected death, haunts the memory and takes us inside a deep, unsettling grief that turned her life upside down. Blue Nights is in a sense a sequel to that book, as grief piled upon grief and less than two year's after her husband's death, she lost her daughter, Quintana Roo, , who had been seriously ill since even before her father's death. Blue Nights tells the story of that second loss, and conveys the incomparable anguish a parent feels upon losing a child. But it also goes beyond that to become a meditation on the inevitability of death, and both the frailty and surprise of old age.

This latter part of Blue Nights, which explores Didion's newly-bestowed identity as an ailing, anxious, lonely, disconnected, forgetful old woman is especially hypnotic reading. As Gertrude told Hamlet, " `tis common; all that lives must die/Passing through nature to eternity." This universally common reality is the story that Didion tells in the last and strongest section of this book. All of her yearning for the presence of her daughter while extremely moving, echoes much of the longing she experienced for her husband's presence in The Year of Magical Thinking. But here she takes us even more deeply inside her anxieties and vulnerabilities. She worries about losing her ability to write, to move about, to walk without pain, to remember things. She acknowledges the strange heightened sense of accelerating time that is peculiar to old age. Read this remarkable passage, which anyone older than 70 will surely relate to--but because many readers will be much younger than that, it will give them an inkling of what's coming.

"Aging and its evidence remain life's most predictable events, yet they also remain matters we prefer to leave unmentioned, unexplored: I have watched tears flood the eyes of grown women, loved women, women of talent and accomplishment, for no reason other than a small child...has just described them as `wrinkly,' or asked how old they are. When we are asked this question we are always undone by iots innocence, somehow whammed by the clear bell-like tones in which it is asked. What shames us is this: the answer we give is never innocent. The answer we give is unclear, evasive, even guilty. Right now when I answer this question I find myself doubting my own accuracy, rechecking the increasingly undoable arithmetic (born December 5 1934, subtract 1934 from 2009, do this in your head and watch yourself get muddled by the interruption of the entirely irrelevant millennium), insisting to myself (no one else particularly cares) that there must be a mistake: only yesterday I was in my fifties, by forties, only yesterday I was thirty-one."

It's hard to stop quoting from Didion as she connects dots. She was thirty-one when Quintana was born...and that of course was only yesterday as well, and then all the yesterdays come tumbling down, all her "what-ifs," all her nostalgic memories of her early life in LA when they called freeways by names instead of numbers, when she "could still do arithmetic, remember telephone numbers, rent a car at the airport and drive it out of the lot without freezing, stopping at the key moment, feet already on the pedals but immobilized by the question of which is the accelerator and which is the brake." This is unsparingly honest and brave writing about the kind of thing old people usually go out of their way to cover up. How honest it is is revealed in the final two sentences which contrasts what she tells the rental car attendant with what she tells the reader. Here is absolute honesty about the ongoing dishonesty of us who have entered our seventies:
"I invent a reason for the Hertz attendant to start the rental car.
"I am seventy-five years old: this is not the reason I give."

When you have the kind of long-term life relationship with a writer that I have with Joan Didion you feel that you know him or her personally. Although I have never actually met her, it feels like I'm reading about my own family--my own life. Don't be put off by the grimness of the subject matter; this book is a treasure.
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130 of 161 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad taste in mouth after reading, November 21, 2011
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
I have always loved Joan Didion, to the point that I thought she could do no wrong. I would await each new book with absolutely no hesitation that I might not enjoy it. The same happened when I received "Blue Nights" and I launched right into it with the comfortable knowledge that I would surely love it.

About halfway through, I realized the biggest reaction I was having to the book was annoyance. Ms. Didion, while clearly distraught by her daughter's untimely death, seems to be too self-conscious of how she herself comes across in the book, making sure to share more n enough detail about how fabulous and successful her life has been. Quintana Roo, as I fear might be the case in real life, seems to be an afterthought, someone who provides some funny quips for her mother to use in her writing. Quintana Roo seems to me like a little girl desperately wanting her parents to love her and include her, apparent in such stories like her daughter's "sundries" or her "cancer diagnosis" (chicken pox). I think theone part that confirmed for me that DIdion is no longer accessible to her readers is when she oh-so-delightfully explains how on all the trips they would take Quintana Roo on, her daughter didn't understand what it meant to be "on expenses" and "not on expenses." How dare a little girl not realize that when a big studio is picking up the tab, you can order caviar, but when your parents have to actually spend their own money, you can't spoil yourself with othe people's money? What an adorable tale to relay to the everyman reader!

Didion has lost me at this point. As another reviewer noted, I would love to know more about Quintana Roo, but maybe it's someone else's job to tell us about her, someone who won't be so self-aware of her own portrayal in the story as is clearly the case with this author.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The fear is for what is still to be lost.", November 14, 2011
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This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
It can't be easy to be Joan Didion and it certainly wasn't easy to be her adopted daughter. As most readers know, Ms. Didion had to endure the cruelest kind of one-two punch: the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne followed by the death of Quintana Roo at age 39.

And now, years after writing The Year of Magical Thinking, she revisits this dark year in Blue Nights: "This book is called "Blue Nights" because at the time I began it I found my mind turning increasingly to illness, to the end of promise, the dwindling of the days, the inevitability of fading, the dying of the brightness. Blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning."

I quoted this prologue at length because the book is less about Quintana than it is about her mother, the author. Ms. Didion eventually states, "The actual subject was not children after all...the actual subject...was this failure to confront the certainties of aging, illness, death." Or, in other words, "it's now about me."

The author eschews the word "privilege" ("Privilege remains an area to which - when I think of what she endured, when I consider what came later - I will not easily cop.") But it is hard for the reader to NOT think of Quintana Roo as privileged, at least from a material sense. Joan Didion asked for - and received - a beautiful baby girl from St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica (the girl HAD to be "beautiful"), purchased miniature wooden hangers and expensive dresses. Quintana, at the age of five, had stayed at the St. Regis and the Regency, The Dorchester in London, and so on.

We learn that Quintana was not a happy child or adult who was terrified of an imaginary "Broken Man" and lived with a fear of abandonment. But more than that, we learn that Didion needed her daughter and that her own vulnerability may have trumped Quintana's overriding need for protection. Whether Joan Didion was a good - or at least a good enough - mother is for her to judge, although there is evidence that she loved Quintana to the best of her abilities.

The more important question in this book is whether memories - or art - can save us from life's worst tragedies. There is deliberate repetition here - a lot of it - as the author strives to create order from chaos, presumably to answer that question in the affirmative. Yet at the end of the day, there is an elusive, even insubstantial quality about the book as it gradually shifts to the diminishing sense of her own possibilities.
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219 of 278 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My rich, rewarding, fascinating life is better than yours., November 14, 2011
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
I sat down to write a review of Joan Didion's new book, Blue Nights, when I noticed that the fragrant breeze wafting in through my window reminded me of those warm humid evenings in Paris when Jack Nicholson, who is a dear friend, and Andy Warhol and his lovely daughter, and I would sit on sumptuous pillows on Jack's balcony, sipping absinthe, reading poetry aloud, and inhaling the hibiscus scented winds arising from the gardens surrounding Jack's bungalow. The moonlight glinting off Andy's Rolex, which was given to him by the Sultan of Brunei, could almost bring me to tears with its elemental beauty. But I digress...Blue Nights is a magical book. Almost as magical as that afternoon I spent off the coast of Perth on Bill Cosby's yacht, dining on fresh octopus steaks and plump loganberries flown in by Walter Cronkite as a wedding gift for Robert DeNiro's twin sons. Bill's Givenchy bathing suit and Cartier slippers were like dueling forlorn gods, bellowing in muted anger at the forgotten dreams of youth. Blue Nights is a book about the death of Didion's daughter, and death is as sad as the time Pablo and Paloma Picasso
lost Pablo's Harry Winston diamond denture cup in the warm, sparkling waters of the Perfume River in Saigon, where I had gone to shoot a movie with Francis Ford Coppola and Jackie Onassis. Jackie's Ralph Lauren blouse, made of artisanal cotton from the plantations at the Four Seasons Hotel in Madrid, was so comforting and real that I immediately phoned my good friend Meryl Streep and told her to order a dozen each for herself, me, and the niece of the King of Spain, who has always been someone I could count on. The niece...her nickname is "Pinata-ita", or "little pinata"...you should taste her butter cookies, served on porcelain plates retrieved from Mao Tse-Tung's palace, and eaten with forks fashioned from silver and gold from Sir Lawrence Olivier's dental fillings. Shoot..I meant to write something with meaning here and instead just
name-dropped as many celebrity friends, designer apparel, and exotic places as I possibly could. Kinda like Didion does in Blue Nights. The frantic name-dropping is nauseating. She finds herself getting old and tries to reassure herself, and assure the reader, that she has had a good life by referencing as many famous friends and fancy duds as she possibly can. And to do all this in the context of mourning a daughter, who gets a lot less print than all Didion's name-dropping? It's gross, and boring. Shame on Ms. Didion for this weird and insulting book. But speaking of books, Johnny Carson (who mixes the best vodka martini in California) once confided in me.....
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Uneven Evensong, December 2, 2011
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
At a conference I attended once, a young and fiercely idealistic CEO of a hospital stated his goal in life: "When I lay my head down for the last time, when it is my time to die, I want to be able to look back over the years and know that what I did with my life, professional and personal, changed the lives of my family and friends, and the lives of the people that came through my hospital system, in a deeply positive way". Blue Nights, Joan Didion's memoir/partial autobiography/memorial to her husband and daughter, is a sort of "Now I lay me down to sleep" narrative, delivered from the vantage point of 75 years of life on planet Earth.

Didion's life pathway has been strewn with deaths of family members (husband and daughter) and significant friends, as well as with not a few health problems of her own. There is an Arab saying "All sunshine makes a desert". There has most certainly been rain in Didion's life. A memoir such as Blue Nights offered the opportunity to see what oases of wisdom and tranquility could bloom in the desert when the water of tragedy is applied. Did Didion utilize this opportunity? Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and neurologist that survived the Holocaust, said "Who is to give light must endure burning". Blue Nights offered Didion the opportunity to share light with her readers, light emanating from the searing pain of personal loss that she suffered. Most simply put, many cultures have come up with proverbs that reduce to this: without pain, there is no wisdom. Didion details the pain that she has experienced in life in Blue Nights. Does she leverage that pain to bring her readers wisdom? Does Blue Nights give light that radiates from the intense suffering that Didion has endured? All humans eventually face death, both our own, and of those we love. When the sunshine in Didion's life was obscured by the rain storms that befell her (and befall all of us), is it clear in Blue Nights that she used those floodwaters to nurture the growth of wisdom that we readers might vicariously access? I would argue that in writing the beautiful prosody and intriguing autobiographical tale of Blue Nights....that Didion did not, or could not, answer those questions in the affirmative.

Memoirs can be read for a variety of reasons, all of which are probably legitimate. Read from the point of view of gaining an interior view of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of one of America's great writers, Blue Nights succeeds. Many psychologists and psychiatrists agree that loss of a child is the single most stressful event adults can endure, and Didion's formidable writing talents bring home such a tragedy with devastating force. Blue Nights also succeeds on the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" level. Didion does compulsive name-dropping in this book. At times, when she feels the reader might not understand the importance of the person she is has just mentioned, the story veers away from tragedy into a Wikipedia like segment on just WHY the person she is mentioning is such a luminary. Such is the case when we become thoroughly informed about the importance of an organized crime figure whose table Didion sits at. At best, such information seems like a bit of a non sequitur; at worst, blatant self-aggrandizement.

Quintana Roo, Didion's adopted daughter who died at age 39, occupies a front and center position in the book. I should mention that I have been a Joan Didion fan for 40 years. I'll also say that in Blue Nights I felt that Didion's treatment of the agony of losing a child veered into frank melodrama, and cloying sentimentalism. Didion's writing, long an example to me of startlingly insights and clear-eyed analyses of the country and culture that she has grown up in, has seemed almost absent of sentimentality and melodrama in the past. No longer is this the case. It is true that sentimentality and melodrama sell well in the entertainment world. Most would agree that neither are the hallmarks of excellence in art.

Those that enjoy highly detailed accounts of celebrity lives will be entertained by Blue Nights. Readers actively pursuing the liqueur of wisdom that can be distilled from the crazy fermentation called life are not likely to find resonance with this book. Some say that the definition of important art is that it both entertains AND informs. Blue Nights makes it halfway there.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Memorial to Her Own Grief, November 25, 2011
By 
JSC Siow "JSC Siow" (Upstate NY, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
Having read only one of her earlier books (The Year of Magical Thinking), I approached this book with few if any preconceptions of Didion's range, oeuvre, personal mystique as a writer or celebrity. My interest was in the ostensible encounter with grief and the processes one goes through internally. As such, Blue Nights was a difficult read in terms of its emotional bareness if not rawness, even as it showed Didion in a not especially appealing light. While she captured a certain familiar recursiveness and obsessive churn to the thought patterns of the grieving who are not yet ready to let go of their loved ones, the minutiae and content of her thoughts revealed a kind of self-reflection laid on a well-trodden foundation of a certain sense of self-regard. Ostensibly a memorial-in-prose of sorts to a way of being in her younger days and to her daughter, the spiraling stream-of-consciousness style of her writing repeatedly centered on herself. She herself features as the vortex as she takes the pulse of the quality of her motherhood, her possession of what is now lost, and the quality of her experience of grief. For an astute and keenly perceptive writer however, Didion seemed at times remarkably unattuned to her own emotional state and the stresses thereof, almost as if her claim of indifference to people extended to herself. Perhaps this is just another aspect to her self-described sense of frailty but it is troubling especially when seen in terms of the material motifs she seemed to fixate on e.g. the patterns on tableware, who wore what when, foods they ate where etc., as if these things were more meaningful and substantial to her than the person of her daughter.

In stark contrast, she never once dwelt on the shape of her daughter's smile, the deeper/intimate conversations they must have had, the sound of her voice or laugh, the color of her eyes, the quality of her silences, or the shifting shadows and moods across her face etc. It may well be that these things about her daughter are too precious, too privately cherished and personal to put down on paper, but I suppose we will never know. In any case, the lack of this dimension in the book rendered Didion's grief and ruminations somehow "hollow" for me, in the sense of lacking ballast or a flesh-and-blood reality to the gravitational center around which her grief and emotions revolved.

We see her daughter only through memory snippets, Kodak moments in Didion's mind's eye and vignettes recalled from Quintana's childhood - the latter presented as a suspended character/caricature of whom we know little more at the end of the book. What I came away with at the end was not only the obvious sense of Didion's numbness and incipient self-castigation but also (perversely) a strange impression of her selfishness and fierce tenacity i.e. of memory, of hanging on, of working over and over that groove in her heart and hurt - all this despite her self-described physical frailty and sense of tenuousness. As such, this is an odd book - at times familiar in what I'd experienced in my own grief; at other times, it made me flinch at the callousness with which she revisited her past and her failures and kept emotional wounds open, as if reexamining and keeping them open offers the potential for treatment and hence healing. Less charitably, it also brought to mind a sort of public self-flagellation conducted with a view to audience potential. Reading this book left me sympathetic to her grief but unfortunately not inclined to warm towards her as a person.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Name Dropping and Self-Absorbed...Sad Tale, February 14, 2012
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
I picked up this book because I liked "Year of Magical Thinking" and because I have lost a child. I found it very disappointing. She is VERY repetitive and vague. We do not learn about her daughter, about their relationship, about them as a family, or arguably most importantly, about Quintana Roo's death. She mentions the name of the bakery her daughter's christening cake came from around 15 times. Must be some impressive bakery. She name drops at every chance she gets. Insecure? Yes. I feel bad about being so critical of a grief stricken mother, but this book should not have been published.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Please look at Quintana's photo on the back cover, March 26, 2012
By 
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
I have liked Joan Didion's writing, and admire her for even attempting to write about the tragic death of her daughter, Quintana Roo. Unfortunately, parts of this book read like a product placement manual -- "Craftsmen" dinner knives, "Hitchcock" chairs, "Lily Pulitzer" shifts, "Baccarat" glass, etc.

There is a haunting early photograph of Quintana on the book's back cover; this book is in some sense a memorial, we want to know WHO Quintana was. It is disappointing that we do not come close.
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68 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful expression of the closing days of a very full life, November 1, 2011
This review is from: Blue Nights (Hardcover)
Blue Nights are those gorgeous long evenings of summer when, long after the sky and sun has gone down, the sky retains a transcendent purple hue, something that Vincent van Gogh might have painted. Joan Didion expresses it better on the opening page; I use my own words only to be unique.

Didion has had a charmed life. She asks herself in the book whether to call it privileged. In terms of absolute wealth, a plethora of servants, and mansions scattered throughout the world she concludes that she has not. Nevertheless, in the wealth of names she can drop, acquaintances she has made in the Hollywood scene, the literary scene, and the intellectual scene, she has been privileged to be among the best, or perhaps one might say, the most celebrated personalities of her era.

Her description of a childhood resonated with me. She was independent; we California children of tht era were independent. We were allowed to do almost anything we wanted, both out of our parents' sense that taking risks was an essential part of accruing the life's experience that you needed to be an adult, and the fact that they were too busy with important things such as winning the war to spend every moment engaged as "helicopter parents."

Didion describes the transformation from a free, unfettered, experiential childhood to the cloistered, protective childhoods of today. A telling event was the kidnap murder molestation of Stephanie Bryan in the 1950s. The Hearst newspapers exploited it to sell millions of copies. Every mother's heart was gripped with fear, and they thenceforth held tighter on to their offspring. The tragic loss to the Bryan family was magnified by the publicity. I was a schoolmate of Bryan's sister, who struggled mightily to live a normal life. At any rate, Didion survived in adventuresome childhood that would have created 1000 panics in the life of any modern mother, and no doubt grew up the better and the stronger for it. Her parents had faith that she had the wits to survive, and she did.

Didion has suffered the loss of her child, Quintana Roo, her husband John Gregory Dunne, her good friend Natasha Richardson, and many other people close to her. Of course, having a wide circle of friends and growing older - she will celebrate her 77th birthday in December - exposes a person to the risk of loss. Nevertheless, Didion's losses seem to be out of proportion, unjust. They are the flip side to the charmed life that she led.

Didion has written quite a bit about her life and other essays. This book provides only vignettes, but they are delicious. Summers in St. Tropez,, room service in the best hotels throughout the world, Malibu, Topanga Canyon, and luxury apartments in New York. She recites the names of the subtropical flowers that adorned her Southern California homes, names that certainly few of the citizens who admire them on the streets could identify if called upon. She talks about her daughter's upbringing. Whether or not one would call it privileged, Quintana attended the best schools and palled around with the best of friends. She was exposed at an early age not only to life's luxuries, but to a broad palette of intellectual and artistic tastes. At an elementary school age she was not a mere movie fan, but a movie critic.

Didion describes at some length the adoption process and the identity questions which never resolved themselves. Is this really my child? Is this really my mother? Would this mother abandon me as that my other mother did? Didion poses these questions well, laying out all of the issues but never even attempting to resolve them. They cannot be resolved.

Although Quintana died at a young age, and was afflicted by some sort of a psychological or neurological disorder which could never be properly identified, she has to have been satisfying to her mother. She succeeded in, if not a literary career, at least a career in letters as a magazine editor. Adoptive children are a mixed bag, and she must count herself lucky that she got one with the intellectual ability to achieve some success in her mother and father's arenas.

The tragedies of Didion's life brought her in contact with more doctors, physical and psychological, then any person would wish to encounter in a lifetime. The tragedy of life is that these doctors can seldom even agree on a diagnosis, much less a course of action, for any but the most self-evident maladies. Didion indicates that she did what we all do. Recognize that they are only guessing, that they are probably wrong, and follow their advice willy-nilly. As she comes to grips with her own frailties, her own mortality, she has no better prescription than to follow the doctor's advice, but she is too worldly wise to invest a lot of faith in their proclamations. She is advancing to her own meeting with her maker, to her own inscription on the wall of the Cathedral in New York City, with an unclouded understanding of the uncertainty of her own path and that of all mankind, but with no doubt as to where it all ends.

This is a beautifully written, touching biography or autobiography, wonderfully excerpting the most delicate and touching points to tell a beautiful story.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not For Me For So Many Reasons!, August 10, 2013
This review is from: Blue Nights (Paperback)
I will start by telling you that I only finished about 2/3rds of this book before I had to stop.

The constant name dropping was really annoying.

The fact that Didion describes herself as "someone who has an overpowering need for a child", then is confused as to the fact that it might not be advisable to bring the newly adopted daughter home from the hospital without having ever bought so much as a diaper or a receiving blanket, is off putting.

Making the blanket statement that "everyone who has ever waited to bring a baby home thinks: what if I fail to love this baby?" Nope, I never thought that.

The trip that she & her husband had planned to take to Saigon at the height of the Vietnam war was never questioned, sure, we'll just take this new infant to Saigon, in fact I'll buy a parasol & new linen dressed for the occasion, is ridiculous.

The arguments against how her daughter was not privileged, followed by the stays at The Ritz & 3 other hotels in Paris then going on to name virtually every major hotel in the US, and abroad where the daughter has stayed before she is 6. Oh & the fact that at 7 she decided she wanted caviar at every meal are tedious.

What really bothered me? This paragraph describing her mentally ill seemingly alcoholic daughter:

"She was depressed. She was anxious. Because she was depressed and because she was anxious she drank too much. This was called medicating herself. Alcohol has its own well-known defects as medicine for depression BUT NO ONE HAS EVER SUGGESTED - ASK ANY DOCTOR - THAT IT IS NOT THE MOST EFFECTIVE ANTI-ANXIETY AGENT YET KNOWN."

(caps mine)

Ask any Dr? Alcohol as the most effective anti-anxiety agent yet known?? Irresponsible, inexcusable in fact for someone of her experience & education.

I suffer from bi-polar disorder. I am an alcoholic (19 months sober.) I have never talked to a Dr. who DID NOT SAY that alcohol was THE WORST thing for mental illness!

While obfuscating what really caused her daughters death, she goes to great lengths to hide it, she becomes unrelatable to me.

I cannot imagine the grief caused by having your husband of 40 years die then your only child die within the same year. If this book helped Joan Didion get through her grief then I'm happy for her.

Will I listen to her excuses for alcoholism, her "poor rich me" act, her constant name dropping, no. There are way too many good books waiting to be read to waste any more time on this book.
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Blue Nights
Blue Nights by Joan Didion
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