A bit of a speculator this one – I vaguely remembered enjoying the movie ‘Postcards from the Edge’ so I picked it up for $2. And maybe, just maybe I could have enjoyed it in small doses in the right moods (in one of my sessions with the book either the writing improved greatly or I was just in the right frame of mind for it), but overall I just couldn’t. So much of it felt like I was in something between ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Friends’, and I really didn’t want to be there. Admittedly I didn’t want to be there for the TV shows either, but at least they’re screaming at you that these beautiful vacuous people with dream lives and make-up and clothes and hair and apartments and relationships are utter fiction. Perhaps Fisher has actually lived a life something like that – given Judy Garland as a mum and her roller-coaster Hollywood ride, she’d be the first to confess she’s hardly had an average innings – but this was just too far away from me. The weird thing was how recognisable the characters were given the way we’re so steeped in American TV and film, but it made me queasy to try to digest these as ‘actual’ people to hang around with in a novel. Because they are meant to be authentic feeling people, not self-conscious sit-com foils.
She’s intelligent, articulate and sharp witted, sure, but not in any way that appeals to me. Why is it that even a couple of hundred years after colonisation I still generally relate better to English humorists? Actually that’s not entirely true – Dave Barry, P.J. O’Rourke, Scott Adams and Garrison Keillor can all crack me up. No, it’s not merely the American thing. I don’t know if everyone simply is so self-obsessed and just have better ways of disguising it, or whether Fisher isn’t except when she’s writing (cf. I’m sure Roger Waters can’t be as permanently paranoiacally depressed as his lyrics suggest), but, geez, was there anyone else in her world? I suppose understandably she could never tire of looking at herself and her reactions from myriad different ways, but aren’t there a few more readers out there that could? Life just feels like a game she’s playing, these characters just feel too shallow, too stock, too TV. I can’t really justify that, it’s just as good as I can get at my response.