Necessary Sins

Lynn Darling, Author
Lynn Darling, Author Dial Press $24 (233p) ISBN 978-0-385-33606-2
Open Ebook - 126 pages - 978-0-440-33683-9
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-385-33607-9
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In this uninspired memoir, journalist Darling comes of age in the 1960s, begins her career at the Washington Post, falls in love with an older Post reporter, gets him to leave his wife and marry her, gives birth to a daughter, suffers heartbreak at her husband's premature death and winds up a successful magazine freelancer. Much time is spent mulling over her identity as a woman and as a writer, worrying about her career prospects and fretting over responsibilities to her fellow women. It all rings familiar and a little self-indulgent, so that by the time she's facing multiple crises in the book's latter chapters, it's hard to muster sympathy. Darling is at her best when describing rarified social environments, such as the Post newsroom, buzzing with deadline panic and office politics; her husband's gatherings with the New York literati; and the contrasting scene populated by her magazine friends. While at times interesting and certainly heart-wrenching, Darling's story isn't unique, and she's unable to make up for it in voice or approach. Prone to simple, at times melodramatic reflection (""When you are young, you want to fly into the future; only time can teach you respect for the knives that are hidden there""), Darling doesn't have the finesse to turn her life-in-media misadventures into a relevant, worthwhile read.
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