Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kaylie Jones memoir

Today I read this review of "Lies My Mother Never Told Me" by Kaylie Jones:

The book already received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and it's drawing attention because Jones comes from a famous family -- her father was "From Here to Eternity" author James Jones. I'm something of a Jones fan, for weird reasons; I think her novel "Speak Now" may make my 20-best list for the millennium (that will be an odd list, I assure you). I like her writing because it speaks to people of my generation (late boomers) and because she deals movingly and in a sense spiritually with addiction. Also, I tend to read novels by people who went to private colleges in the northeast, especially the one I went to; in effect, I read only about myself. ;-)

Kaylie Jones was in the class ahead of me in college. Because the university was small, I saw her a lot around campus (children of famous people tended to be singled out). Then a few years later, when I was working in New York, I was walking up Fifth Avenue to go to the Maundy Thursday service at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian. In the display window at the Doubleday bookstore (this was the mid-80s), I happened to see the title "As Soon as it Rains" with her name attached to it. This proved too difficult to resist; I went in and bought it. As I read it, I discovered the first half of the novel was set at a college very much like the one we had gone to. When the movie of her book "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries" came out (Merchant-Ivory, no less), I picked up a copy of the movie tie-in and read it (the book is really a collection of related short stories chronologically arranged), and I've read her other two novels. I'm not a huge fan of memoirs, but I intend to read this one.

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