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Vintage Didion (Vintage Original)

by Joan Didion

This isn’t the collection I would begin with if I were starting with Didion; I’d start with The White Album or Slouching Toward Bethlehem. But it has great cover art (a photo of Didion) and two essays by her I return to repeatedly: “Girl of the Golden West,” a near-perfect essay about Patricia Hearst, and “Sentimental Journeys,” a story about the Central Park jogger raped in 1989, an essay I consider an interesting failure for objectifying the victim in order to prove Didion’s point about sentimentality. The collection also includes “Fixed Opinions, or the Hinge of History,” which makes me cringe–it reminds me of the “friends” on the Upper West Side of Manhattan who when I joined the military told me not to come back to visit in uniform.

Still, it’s the next-to-last book for the MFA program, and I bet I teach from it someday… or perhaps I’ll be a rebel and use The White Album.

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