Amy's Reviews > Play It as It Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion
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's review
Jun 07, 2008

really liked it
Read in June, 2008

I picked this book up from the library because of a tag line comparing Didion to Nathanael West. I think the similarity comes from both of their depictions of Hollywood in unfavorable light, however I think West focuses more on the absurdity and dark humor, while Didion's novel tends to point out the emptiness and depravity.

This is the Hollywood of the early 1970s. Driving around freeways, cocktail parties, drugs, sham marriages, one night stands with nobody actors. Maria is a very unhappy woman. Sometimes she can't seem to find any reason to care about anything; other times she's crying for no direct reason, or just observing the bullshit around her. She's a former actress, apparently getting too old, but it's not like she wanted to be an actress much in the first place. She's not an easy character to like, but I think easy to imagine her state of mind and her environment. A very stark book.
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