In my lust to read all of Joan Didion’s books, articles and essays, following the completion of The Year of Magical Thinking, I came to The White Album. A collection of essays and articles written by Didion between 1968-1978, in which Didion attempted to unravel her own feelings of America in the 1960s. Often depending on her own small family of 3 as the microcosm of her understanding of the world at large, there is something deeply personal about her essays. Even articles covering topics as mundane as the building of a new Mall has an elegance to it. Didion relies on her use of details and of setting a stage to get the reader to follow her. Granted, the book suffers from some issues such as Didion’s reliance on her subjects “Otherness” (most strongly emphasized in On Bogota), overall, the book stands the test of time and is just as relevant today, in our own climate of civil unrest, as it was 40 years ago.
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