Title: Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties
Author: Robert Stone
Date Completed: 2-13
Robert Stone’s Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties isn’t simply a memoir of life in the sixties. Stone’s publishers have positioned this book in such a manner that it could be a disappointment to a reader expecting nothing but vast quantities of hippies, free love, weed, acid and rock ‘n roll. Some of that’s here, including Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, but this book is vastly more important as an author’s journey from prayers to publication than as a paean to the sixties.
The book begins with Stone as a lonely Merchant Marine, aboard a naval transport ship in the Southern Ocean, and concludes with the publication of his first novel, A Hall of Mirrors. It is both, a commercial and critical success. Paul Newman lures Stone to
“There are almost enough unintentional laughs in WUSA, the movie to which I allegedly reduced A Hall of Mirrors, to make its history seem funny even to me. Almost but not quite, considering it provided me with enough regrets to fuel one lifetime’s worth of insomnia. Not to mention aggregate hours of boredom and disappointment inflicted as punishment on an innocent audience. All I can say by way of apology is that I suffered too.”
Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties is an interesting read, and a good one. I recommend it more for its insight into the development of an author, however, then as a memoir of the sixties.
Books now read in ’07: 15
Title: When Madeline Was Young
Author: Jane Hamilton
Date Completed: 2-20
There’s a great story lost within the pages of When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton. Madeline, of the title, is the first wife of Aaron Maciver. After Madeline suffers brain damage in a bicycle accident, Aaron eventually divorces her and marries Julia, who is both a friend of Aaron’s sister and, coincidentally, Madeline’s nurse.
We’re OK so far, but here’s where the story quits working for me. Aaron and Julia – she’s the personification of liberal sensibility – decide to “raise” Madeline. The Maciver children, Mac and Louise, regard Madeline as a simply a big sister. It is a preposterous concept. And it doesn’t work on two counts: 1) it is incredibly unlikely and 2)