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Eve's Hollywood by Eve Babitz

Eve's Hollywood

by Eve Babitz

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Babitz grew up in Hollywood, seemed to be in a constant search for herself from junior high school to, perhaps, the present, and gained much public attention for her relationships with the famous and notorious, both rich and poor. For this book Babitz chooses a selection of themes and presents her recollections as they come to her. Unlike many writers, she claims that this is a natural and easy process; everything just fell together naturally.

If that is true, this might be describes as stream of consciousness writing, but that kind of writing is shallow. Babitz produces some philosophical observations on what is important in life, and what is not. Colors are important; they are alive and interact with her. Some of this might be the result of various drugs, LSD being the most important. Some observations may come from the “Green Death”, an alcoholic stimulant. Some might come from self induced hypnotic states. There is no depth to the observations, but rich and plentiful examples let the reader participate in the exploration for meaning.

Two examples:

(1) “Cowards are the fittest, it must be, since they’re so adept at avoiding extinction.” (Kindle loc 1256) and

(2) “There are only three things to say about cocaine. One, there is no such thing as enough. Two, it will never be as good as the first time. Three, those first two facts constitute a tragedy of expense in ways that can’t be experienced unless you’ve had cocaine. Its expense lies in knowing that someone’s having fun on Mt. Olympus without you and that should you try to stay there always. Your brain will settle into a puddle around your sinuses and you will die.” (Kindle loc 1674)

Without some reader shared experiences this book would not move along well at all except for two things. Firstly, many of the experiences are so far outside the “normal life” (and this is one of her points) that the reader looks forward to going from one sensational experience to another. Secondly, her style of writing is entertaining. Babitz does not always follow grammar conventions. A fast reader will sometimes stumble, go back, and ask the question “What did I just read?” And “What did that mean?” I believe Babitz would reply to these questions with just one word “Exactly.”

A phrasing example, when writing of not waiting to eat taquitos:

“I suppose I should have held my horses and waited until I was properly ensconced, but I was triumphed over.” (Kindle location 3257)

For Babitz, the center of human life as we know it is Los Angeles. There are unfortunate money grubbers who choose to exist in New York; she knows this because she sacrificed a year of her life to go there and observe their efforts. Rome is the one outstanding example of a possible way of life that is non-LA. For readers who have experiences in these three places, or are amateur paparazzi, this book is a great read. For everybody else it is only good (plus).
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  ajarn7086 | Jan 23, 2016 |
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Journalist, party girl, bookworm, muse, artist: by the time she'd hit thirty, Eve Babitz had been all of these things. Immortalized as the nude beauty facing Duchamp over a chessboard and as one of Ed Ruscha's Five 1965 Girlfriends, it turns out that Babitz was a writer with stories of her own. In Eve's Hollywood she gives us indelible snapshots of southern California's haute bohemians, of surpassingly lovely high school ingenues ("people with brains went to New York and people with faces came West") and enviably tattooed Chicanas, of burnt-out rock stars in the Chateau Marmont.… (more)

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