Thursday, October 6, 2016

Year of Magical Thinking

Everyone Poops...and dies.  Everyone Poops was a great name for a kid's book. Everyone Dies is a good name for a punk band's album. Nevertheless, Joan Didion, who is not dead, although she is old and looks more fragile than a sugar-spun cake topper wrote this book about dealing with her husband's sudden death (while her daughter was in the hospital). Joan is richer, fancier more famous than you and she really is the antithesis of punk rock. Yet, she too will die and someone will write about it. Circle of life, Joan, circle of life.....oh Mufasa. Damn you...who is cutting onions?

I thought this book was really interesting.  How would an intellectual deal with death...well, by doing more research on death, of course! That is what you are getting.  She doesn't dumb it down for you. It also treads this weird line between narcissistic, cathartic and voyeuristic. I suspect this is indicative of her work and why people really like her.  It's compelling. You would not think some old lady talking about death would be compelling but it is.  Well, it's not just me because it did win the National Book Award.

I listened to this book on audio and the narrator is originally from Great Britain but she has a mostly American accent.  That mix between the two is what some people call the "continental" accent. You'll hear blue-bloods from old movies like Grace Kelly and Katherine Hepburn talk like this and it seemed to fit Joan's "voice" perfectly. For whatever reason, at the end of every third chapter they put in some weird piano music to transition for the next chapter...with no warning...the first time this happened it scared me horribly.  I was in the car and it sounded like there was an erudite ambulance siren behind me.

Joan and her late husband were drinkers, in fact, the last thing John drank right before he died was Scotch.  I'd bet it was decent stuff too. I actually love Scotch but I like it neat. I'm warming up to brandy these days and in this cocktail you can use brandy, bourbon or rye. Horse's neck: put 2 ounces of liquor in a tall Collins type glass, put a few cubes and fill the rest with ginger ale. Garnish with a long lemon peel that you artfully drape in the length of the glass. Enjoy your life.    

1 comment:

  1. "Enjoy your life." Or what's left of it... :-)