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19 April 2009 @ 08:47 pm
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann

Wow, this was such an easy read compared to Henry James. I was trying to plough through the Wings of the Dove at the same time, but gave up. Old Harry is just painful sometimes. Not so Jackie.

I thought it was quite a good book, and I can sort of see why it was scandalous a few decades ago. Now, of course, the sex seems hopelessly tame and unerotic, but there you go. I wonder what it will take for the next generation to get off? I shudder to think.

However, I did feel Susann sacrificed the character of Lyon to get the ending she wanted. The ending was major and left me with a wry smile on my face ... but I truly don't think it fit with Anne and Lyon's trajectory. I mean, Lyon said things like this:

"No. Peace of mind does not always come with love. I'm sure you'll have peace of mind with Gillmore, and a good conscience. With me, you'll have to battle that conscience. But then, love is always a bit of a struggle, isn't it?">
"I'm talking about love," he said hotly. "Not begging! Love shouldn't make a beggar of one. I wouldn't want love if I had to beg for it, to barter or qualify it. And I should despise it if anyone ever begged for my love. Love is something that must be given - it can't be bought with words or pity, or even reason. I shall never beg you, Anne. I love you."

That doesn't strike me as smarmy, or a lie. It sounds like some of the truest words I've ever read about love. Hence, my theory. However, Susann won't be the first writer to twist her characters around her plot, and she won't be the last.

"... I'm not really in love with Helen any more, but I can't break the habit. It sneaks up on you, Anne - the habit. And after all emotion is gone and logic takes over, the habit is still there. For the rest of your life. [...]"

This could probably be the tagline for DIY Messiah ... and every other love story I've ever written. That IS my theory of love, only I don't look on it sadly the way Harry did - I think it's a triumph of reality over sentiment. Love works, but it gets rusty same as anything else.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
The Bostonians, Henry James
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot
The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
Cecilia, Fanny Burney
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
OkyDokyokydoky on April 19th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
It's been so long since I read this book! It is an easy read, but enjoyable at the same time. Definitely in comparison to Henry James!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: xckdscoradh on April 20th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
It was even slightly deceptive! I thought Anne could get a happy ending out of it, but BAM. THE END. :DDD
Minnow: checkeredwaterhouse-icon_goddessminnow_53 on April 20th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
One of my all-time favourites! :) Apparently, the original draft was (obviously) a great idea but so badly put together that JS's editor actually wrote the novel. /random info.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: hipposcoradh on April 20th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
D'you know what, I can actually see that? Because it sort of reads very like some fic in bandom, where people just have a conversation about a great fic IDEA across email or IM, dress it up a little and post it. Still. Beats Harry J any day. ;D