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This was among the most negative and depressing books that I have read, and wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve lived in California for over 20 years, and picked up this book in the hopes of learning more about this great place. The author obviously has had some bad memories and a difficult childhood from growing up in the area, and these recollections give the book a somber tone. The book is disjointed, biased, and ultimately the ramblings and personal thoughts of an unhappy person- as opposed to any profound or enlightening revelation about California. The worst aspect about this book is that it leaves you feeling quite empty and doesn’t leave any trace of hope for the reader to salvage any level of optimism or inspiration from the content. I’m sorry that Ms. Didion has such negative memories and bitterness left with her from her experience growing up in California, but we would all been better served if she kept these views to herself. I regret having read this book.
If you are simply reading this for an assignment, then do not read this book. It tries to cover too many subjects in too diverse a field that the overall result is one confusing and frustrating read. Though I suppose it would be possible to simple B.S. your way through any essay assignment because the evidence for the theme of the book seem to be everywhere. All in all, horrible book.