Everyone knows feminist, literary books appeal to girls in Brooklyn, but what connects to all American women? We wanted to find out, so we hired reality television legend Farrah Abraham as our book critic. After enduring a working-class childhood and life as a single teen mom, Farrah’s blossomed into an entrepreneur. She’s bringing her unique perspective to reviews of new and classic literature, starting with Joan Didion’s seminal tome Slouching Towards Bethlehem. New Yorker and New York Review of Books, it’s time to get real. A new critic is in town!
As a devout reader, I believe women should write their life stories because most journeys teach valuable lessons. But if you want consumers to trust you, you probably should avoid starting a book with your gin issues. Journalist and screenwriter Joan Didion apparently never received this message.
In 1968 she published Slouching Towards Bethlehem. If you’re looking to find out what not to do as a writer, this is a great book for you. Over the course of twenty essays, Didion describes her life in Los Angeles during the sixties. She jumps from year to year, often for no rhyme or reason. The non-linear structure confuses me. I had to wonder, “Was Didion even trying when she wrote this junk?”
According to her Wikipedia page, Didion is some sort of queen of nonfiction, but I doubt Slouching Towards Bethlehem’s credibility. How would she remember all these quotes? Did she walk around with a recorder in her purse? I suspect Didion wrote many half-truths because she prides herself on her diva behavior. At one point, Didion brags about her missed deadlines. Who does that? If Didion behaved this way on a reality tv set, she would be fired for unprofessionalism.
Overall, I did not connect with this book. I don’t think the writer herself was even connected to the material. In a dull boring style, Didion goes on and on about John Wayne and Charles Manson and all her alcohol-fueled parties. Although some people online called Didion snobby, I wouldn’t consider her writing snobby. I don’t care what Didion thought about some old Western movie. There are more important issues taking place in America, like the rising cost of child care and sexism in the workplace.
Maybe lost souls in my generation connect to Didion? I think this book is best suited for readers in their fifties, sixties, and seventies. Personally, I find the behavior of Didion and her friends obnoxious. Without ever feeling the need to grow up, these baby boomers drink their way through life, developing all sorts of problems with drug use and addiction. They never consider the future. They only think about drinking and drugs.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a great book for people who abuse substances every day. When you need a book to read and ponder your drug problems, pick up a Didion essay collection. If you’re looking for a book that discusses real issues, you are better off picking up my memoir, My Teenage Dream Ended. My life story is closer to the truth of life.
Art by Official Sean Penn