Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Currently Reading: Chocolates for Breakfast

I love when I get the feeling that I have stumbled upon a literary treasure and that is the feeling I get whenever I open this book. Chocolates for Breakfast was published in 1956 and is written by Pamela Moore. I was especially drawn to this book when I found out that Pamela was only 18 when this book was published, not to mention in her last year of college...at 18 years old. The book was translated to many languages and was an international bestseller. Pamela Moore continued writing but none of her other novels compared in success. At 26 years old, she committed suicide. 

The book is amazing and is often compared to The Catcher in the Rye because it deals with youthful angst and anxieties as well as depression and the desire to grow up. It is considered to be autobiographical as Pamela and her main character, Courtney, were both children of divorce and were shuttled between their parents' separate homes in Los Angeles and New York City. 

The book begins when Courtney is at boarding school in New England. The end of a relationship with a female teacher leaves her upset and causes her mother, a struggling actress, to pull her out of school to move in with her in California. There, Courtney grows up as she mingles with movie stars and lives the life of an adult far too early. 

What is most amazing about this book is, of course, the writing. Moore is able to grasp the feelings, confusions, and contradictions of youth without shoving it in her reader's face. She's subtle in her writing but so powerful. The simple sentences that hold so much more meaning than one realizes upon first reading. It really touches on the life of a young adult with such perfection and with extreme realism. 

The book went out of print decades ago and was brought back by the help of another author, Emma Straub. The edition of the book that I have was printed in 2013 by Harper Perennial and contains lots of interesting extras such as old articles about the author and book as well as photocopies of early drafts of the novel. 

Most of the books I write about I would recommend to other readers but this one I recommend above and beyond all others! Anyone will enjoy it and will relate to it. To prove my point, I will leave you with a small quotation that is one of my favorites thus far in my reading:

"It's gray. It's gray and dim. Do you know what I mean? It's dead leaves in the swimming pool and smoke in the bedroom. But I guess that doesn't make sense to you."

You can learn more about the book and author here

Also, how awesome are all these older covers of the book from past editions? I think they are more representative and truthful to the content and feel of the book than the newest cover.

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