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Didion and California Still Going Strong

September 14, 2003

Letter writer Don Anderson (Sept. 11) takes issue with writer Joan Didion's Sept. 8 commentary, claiming that her prose has deteriorated with age and that she's wrong to claim any special status for California. Actually, Didion's prose has become more layered and interesting with age. Life is not supposed to look the same to adults as it does to eighth-graders; why should a writer's style not evolve as she gains wisdom and experience?

California is special, not because Didion says so but because writers, political commentators and opinion shapers across the country have painted it that way since the 1800s. The California dream (or nightmare, depending on your point of view) exerts undeniable power over the shared American consciousness in a way that Oregon, Florida and New York do not.

Bonnie Sloane

Los Angeles

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