Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

book cover of Play It as It Lays

Maybe this is the kind of book you have to be in a certain mood to enjoy… it was a page-turner, sure, and I kept thinking about it when I put it down, but it made me miserable.

I think the blurb oversold it, too. Like, the claim that it “captures the mood of an entire generation”? Well… it’s about ultra-rich people divorced from any kind of reality. It’s about Maria going crazy and being helpless. It was just very individual; I didn’t think it said anything much about “the mood of an entire generation”, much less the “generation” of the late 1960s.

It’s a good book… but all the same… it made me uneasy.


a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.