play it as it lays

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Yesterday, I took a break from Wild to read Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays in its entirety. Let me just say that this book demolished me. After page two, I had to set it down and take a deep breath because I immediately realized that this book is perfect and it is everything and it seems to have been written just for me.

It wasn’t long before I started drawing some comparisons to Gone Girl. Both main characters, in my eyes, are wildly misunderstood and should really elicit sympathy rather than disdain. Just like Amazing f-ing Amy, Maria Wyeth is a product of her environment. Both characters have an astute awareness which somehow translates into people assigning them the label of “the crazy bitch” when, in fact, their awareness of the absurdity by which they are surrounded is pretty rational.

I just loved this book. It was bleak and gorgeous and sad. The greatest section for me was Chapter 46. Here it is in its entirety:

She had watched them in supermarkets and she knew the signs. At seven o’clock on a Saturday evening they would be standing in the checkout line reading the horoscopes in Harper’s Bazaar and in their carts would be a single lamb chop and maybe two cans of cat food and the Sunday morning paper, the early edition with the comics wrapped outside. They would be very pretty some of the time, their skirts the right length and their sunglasses the right tint and maybe only a little vulnerable tightness around the mouth, but there they were, one lamb chop and some cat food and the morning paper. To avoid giving off the signs, Maria shopped always for a household, gallons of grapefruit juice, quarts of green chile salsa, dried lentils and alphabet noodles, rigatoni and canned yams, twenty-pound boxes of laundry detergent. She knew all the indices to the idle lonely, never bought a small tube of toothpaste, never dropped a magazine in her shopping cart. The house in Beverly Hills overflowed with sugar, corn-muffin mix, frozen roasts and Spanish onions. Maria ate cottage cheese.

Once I finished the book, I thought about who I might cast in a modern film adaptation. For Maria, I thought Abbie Cornish would be great, especially having seen her in Candy. Another option for Maria could be Eva Green. For the role of Maria’s friend B.Z., I like Matthew Goode. I kind of like Paul Bettany for Maria’s husband, director Carter Lang. Then, I think Isla Fisher could work for B.Z.’s wife Helene.

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One response to “play it as it lays

  1. Pingback: book report: summer haul | The Young Sophisticates Guide·

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