Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays

Someone once expressed to me a very negative opinion about Joan Didion’s writing and I accepted it without thinking or without reading her much. I’ve now reconsidered and enjoyed this book of essays from the late 1960s. Apparently I read this three and a half years ago and was dismissive, but Didion grows on me. One of my favorites in this reading was the first essay—Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream—about a woman convicted of setting her husband on fire in their VW and running up and down the highway for an hour trying to summon help. The titular essay, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, is also solid, giving a detailed peek into 1967 Haight Street hippies and concerts in the Panhandle. This time around I enjoyed the New York piece (Goodbye to All That), myself being gripped less by the thrall of NYC and understanding the waves of feeling toward it that crash and recede.