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The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer…

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer

by Jennifer Lynch

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In case it hasn’t become abundantly clear at this point, I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE “Twin Peaks” fan. It was a show that burned too bright and went out too fast, but went on to change television as we know it. When I finally got to start watching the recent revival, I felt a need to actually get my hands on one of the tie ins to the show that I had heard of, but never actually experienced. That is, of course, the notorious “The Secret Life of Laura Palmer”, a book that is supposed to be the journal of the doomed and tragic Laura Palmer, the victim whose murder kicks off the series. It’s notorious because, similar to books like “Flowers in the Attic” and “Go Ask Alice”, it has a reputation for being salacious and scandalous.

There is definitely something that should be said right away about this book: if you are not familiar with the show “Twin Peaks” and it’s mythos, this book is probably not going to make much sense to you. Jennifer Lynch, daughter of the show’s creator (and amateur meteorologist) David Lynch, writes these diary entries and expects that the reader is going to understand who these characters are and what the significance is to the various situations that Laura describes. So while I knew why it was absolutely upsetting when on page 4 Laura write ‘p.s., I hope BOB doesn’t come tonight’, those who are going in blind would not. My advice would be that if you haven’t seen the show this book should probably be avoided until you have, not only because of confusion but also major spoilers to the plot. All that said, I found it to be a fun(?) read because of the hidden references and the first person perspective from the girl who was dead in episode one. I also have to admit that I smiled pretty broadly every time there was mention of one of my favorite characters from the show, like Bobby Briggs or Audrey Horne. This book also does a good job of expanding upon characters that we only saw through the show’s perspective, and showing sides that perhaps they couldn’t or wouldn’t show after Laura’s murder. This mostly applies to my bae Bobby Briggs. On the show we mostly see an angry teenage boy who makes dumb decisions and generally acts like a brooding whiner. But I loved that in this book we saw the sweet side that was long extinguished by the time we get to know him. But, all that said, as fun as the references and new perspectives were, this book doesn’t really tell me anything that I don’t know about Laura Palmer and how awful and sad her life was. If anything, it merely puts the awful abuse, torture, and sadness that she endured on full display. I need to give Jennifer Lynch the utmost credit for writing the voice of a pre-teen to teenage girl so well. As I was reading this book there were so many moments that I thought to myself ‘yep, my diary entries at this age totally sounded like this’ (to an extent), and I think that it was a genius move to let not only a woman, but the daughter of the series creator as well write it. But the authenticity just made all the stories of sexual abuse, drug use, sex work, and violence feel all the more awful. I know that some of the appeal of books like this one and “Flowers in the Attic” is the taboo-ness of reading them, but when you are reading about a teenage girl recounting all the awful things she has been made to do and the reckless and dangerous coping mechanisms she finds herself in, I was less ‘wow this is fun’ and more ‘ugh, this makes me want to take a shower’. It’s not that I found it exploitative, exactly, as I think that Lynch is very good and making it uncomfortable and decidedly NOT sexy. But I did find it upsetting. Which, at it’s heart, Laura Palmer’s story is supposed to be. By seeing this side of her, it shows her as more than just that smiling picture that everyone thinks of when they think of the show.

“The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer” isn’t necessarily a ‘must read’ for fans of the show, and it certainly isn’t a way for people to get an introduction to the show’s universe. But I appreciate that it gives Laura Palmer a more personal voice than the show did (and I can’t speak for the movie “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” as I have not seen it). Maybe I would have had more fun if it was the secret diary of Audrey Horne. ( )
  thelibraryladies | Sep 18, 2017 |
The mystery of who killed Laura Palmer intrigued viewers during season one of Twin Peaks. Laura’s diary (as seen by Jennifer Lynch, David Lynch’s daughter) was published during the break before season two. The diary won’t tell you who killed her but it will expound on her relationship with Bob, and others in the seemingly quiet town of Twin Peaks.

The journal starts on her 12th birthday and ends only days before her murder. Jennifer Lynch did a great job of writing as differing age levels through the course of the diary. The insights into Laura’s psyche and history add quite a lot to what we learn from the TV series. I wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone who hasn’t seen the show, but then this is specifically made for fans. I wonder how many viewers of the new series know about this book. I have a feeling they’d like it.
  Jessiqa | Sep 5, 2017 |
In The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, Jennifer Lynch, daughter of Twin Peaks co-creator David Lynch, examines Laura Palmer's life and fall into darkness from the age of twelve until a few days before the series begins. Lynch manages to craft a story that not only ties in with the overall television series, but also explores Laura in her own right as a full character, rather than an enigma of whom the audience receives glimpses in the show. Those unfamiliar with the show may find details of the book hard follow, though Lynch, though Laura's voice, provides background when necessary and in a manner one might expect to find in a diary. Like the other tie-in book, The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes, this explores how one of the main characters became who they were at the time of the show, although, in Laura's case, it necessarily follows a much darker path. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Mar 25, 2017 |
I never watched the show. This book was fascinating - dark, twisted, extremely sexually graphic, drug filled, and the ending leaves you wondering what happened. I read this several times growing up and always found it interesting and well-written. You had to love the troubled and flawed protagonist, and it was clever how the book was written in a full diary style, the writing changing based on what was going on at the time. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I did not see the show, reading the book makes me want to find the show and watch it. The story sucks you in as you read this sad child's journey into despair and self-destruction. Then the ending leaves you hanging without knowing the details in her death. ( )
  caanderson | Feb 7, 2015 |
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Dear Diary, My name is Laura Palmer, and as of just three short minutes ago, I officially turned twelve years old! It is July 22, 1984, and I have had such a good day!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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