Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays

I’ve avoided Didion for most of my life, but had this book thrust upon me by the Biblioracle. Most of the stories are from other publications, published in the late 1960s. Didion sneers at her victims, too good for them, clinically and dry-panning exactly how they are freaks but not in a welcoming way. Writing about the Communists and hippies in San Francisco, you get the sense that she is an automaton, simply recording facts, passing judgement, not living. And oh, her precious essay about leaving New York after eight years, after being too exhausted, simply, to go on. Into the warm welcoming arms of jasmine-scented Los Angeles. Blech. California’s native daughter is not the best writer it’s produced, and Didion is full of a pretentiousness even in her late twenties that I can only assume grows greater with age.