Paul's Reviews > Play It as It Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion
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's review
Dec 12, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011
Read on December 07, 2011

Awesome. Liked it even better the second time around. This inspired a generation of (er, a few) women writers, especially Mary Robison, and also Lydia Davis and Amy Hempel. What's great here is the self-conscious, post-1970s (i.e. 1980s) ness that's there in all three of those writers, all of whom I love, is totally absent here; Didion is dead serious, and there's an added weight to the narrative as a result. I guess you could call this one depressing, but I'd just call it moving. The consensus seems to be that if there's a fault here it's in the fact that Maria isn't likable enough, which I can't really see. She's flawed, isn't she? Nothing huge happens here, which is sort of just the way I like it. It allows us to sit back and relax in Didion's prose. Aside, of course, from about halfway through, when Maria goes through something somewhat traumatic, and this serves as the emotional high point for me. Hoo-boy, is it an emotional high point, too. Sort of cringe-inducing.

Anyway, awesome.

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