Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Down the Maze of Memories with Rona Jaffe

Recently,writer Rona Jaffe passed away in the city of London-she was 73 and best
known for such novels as The Best of Everything and Class Reunion. I've read The
Best of Everything a few months ago(there was a trade paperback reprint tied in
to promote the DVD release of the film version which starred Joan Crawford) and
when I was younger,I recall enjoying Rona's other books,too.

One of my personal favorites was Mazes and Monsters. Mazes and Monsters was about
four college kids who got too intense with their RPG(Role Playing Game to those
not in the know)and one of them went insane. This was around the time that D&D
was all the rage and most folks thought it was the equilivent of Marilyn Manson.

I was never into D&D but I did enjoy the book-basically,the four friends had
probelms in their lives that the M&M game gave them escape from. Since one of
them was a girl(Kat),naturally a love triangle popped up when she became more to
Daniel,the more stable and datable of the bunch. Robbie,the guy she broke up
with took it calmly since he was more involved in his mental breakdown at the
time. Jay Jay,the token poor little rich boy,gets the idea to stage a real life
version of the game at the abandoned local caves which further leads poor Robbie
into playing with madness.

I haven't read the book in years(got rid of my copy long ago during one of
my literary purges)but I not only have fond feelings towards it but also the
tv movie version which apparently has made it's DVD debut. Tom Hanks was in it
which explains why the movie survived and his face is plastered all over the
cover. CBS was the network that originally showed it,I believe,and yes,it was
rather hokey but entertaining. I actually found a fan site for the M&M movie
(linked in the title above)and glad to see that others still hold some fanboy
love for this semisweet cautionary tale.

Rona Jaffe will be dismissed by some as one of those"women's fiction" authors but
she was not some Jaqueline Susann clone-Rona wrote good dramatic stories that gave
a girl somewhere to go and live outside her particular boundaries. Also,she set up
a foundation for women writers that has to date given out $500,000 since 1995. I'm
not nominating her for sainthood but I do think she paved the way for current authors
like Maeve Binchy,Debbie Macomber and Jodi Picoult to gather an audience for women
to share in lives that maybe similar to their own or at the very least,identifiable.

I hope that some of Rona's other books will get rediscovered and that a new generation enjoys the best of everything she had to offer.

No comments: