Friday, September 6, 2013

Joyce Maynard's New Novel, After Her, and the Current Movie Based on Her Novel, Labor Day

Wednesday night, I had the pleasure of attending one of Joyce Maynard's book talks at Warwick's independent bookstore in La Jolla, California. She was promoting her current novel, After Her. When her presentation ended, we chatted briefly afterwards and exchanged books.

After Her is a novel loosely based on The Trailside Killer case in Marin County, California in the late 1970s. Joyce tells the tale of two sisters and their love for their philandering, detective father whose job it is to capture the Trailside Killer. After Her is a complex thriller and a real page turner.

Joyce may be best known for the novel To Die For, which was made into a movie directed by Gus Van Sant, starring Nicole Kidman in one of her best roles ever.

An aspiring local weather girl will do whatever it takes to make it in television, even having her husband murdered by three teens. The movie is better than I make it sound. It is a dark comedy based on a real incident.

Joyce Maynard's book, Internal Combustion, is about Nancy Seaman, an award winning fourth grade teacher, who went to Home Depot and bought an axe to kill her ex-Ford Motor Company engineer husband in the garage of their Farmington Hills, Michigan home.

Mrs. Seaman attempted to use the "battered wife" defense, but her trial revealed a disturbing history of family dysfunction and a pattern of sociopathic behavior on her part. When Joyce started writing this story, she instinctively sided with the wife, but upon closer examination of the facts and her own research, another picture of Nancy Seaman emerged which made Joyce change her mind about the case.

Joyce Maynard's novel Labor Day has been made into a film and is currently showing in theaters. It is directed by Jason Reitman and stars Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, and Toby Maguire. I haven't seen this yet, so I won't comment on it.

Joyce did say she met documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore, at the Telluride Film Festival recently after a screening of Labor Day. He was coming out of the men's room and spotted her.

"You won't believe what's going on inside the men's restroom, Joyce," he said suppressing a grin.

"What?" she asked, waiting for the punchline.

"Grown men are in there crying their eyes out."

I have to see this movie.

Joyce Maynard
In the link below, Joyce criticizes the new Ken Burns' documentary about J.D. Salinger, having been an eighteen year old victim of the predatory Salinger.

When asked why she participated in the biography, she replied, "I decided that I would speak for myself rather than have others speak about me."

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