Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Laura Rider's Masterpiece creates a beautiful disaster for it's characters

When we first meet Laura Rider,she's a seemingly happy wife and co-owner of Prairie Wind Farm,a thriving garden nursery in a small Wisconsin town,with her dreamy eyed husband Charlie.

While Laura and Charlie still manage to get along after twelve years of marriage,even though the two of them have closed the door on their sex life(due to Laura's being overwhelmed by Charlie's amorous appetite),things are not quite right between them.

Laura may have no more interest in love making but she's in search of something to quench her thirst for stimulation,so she decides to become a writer. Reading has been a recent passion of hers,due in part to listening to the Jenna Faroli radio show which often focuses on books and authors. Laura admires Jenna greatly and often imagines the two of them forming a student-teacher relationship.

Jenna is a local celebrity of sorts and has even run into Laura once or twice but the close relationship that develops is between Charlie and Jenna,who meet by chance and start up an impromptu e-mail correspondence.

Laura openly encourages Charlie to get friendly with Jenna,even helping him to write some of the e-mails to her. Her main intent is to see if a little romance between them can give Laura some material to help her write a love story for the "Every Woman".

Turns out that despite their very different backgrounds,Jenna and Charlie have more in common than they realized at first and their feelings go much deeper than anyone intended.

Charlie evens tries to hide their affair by setting up another e-mail account to secretly communicate with Jenna but Laura is still sending out letters to her,supposedly written by Charlie from the old one. Several small misunderstandings crop up from this until a big one unexpectedly erupts all over their private and public lives.

Jane Hamilton's knack for realism lightly laced with whimsy is well displayed here,giving a sympathetic glow to characters who,in other hands,would come off as modern day horrors.

She does slip a few sly digs at the trendiness of book clubs and the presumptions of those who think that taking up writing is as easy as pie,but her main intent is to showcase the irony of someone who seeks insight and validation via the world of literature but can't or won't read the clues to her own downfall that are written large upon the wall.

Laura Rider's Masterpiece is a short,sharp look at love,manipulation and the consequences of indulging your personal take on things way too far. Art and literature can open your eyes to the human condition but it's just as capable of showing just how blind you are to the reality around you,of the past and the present:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

Not sure if I'd enjoy this or not but the plot does sort of put me off. You did a good job on your review though!