Along with Daphne Du Maurier, Oscar Wilde, Rosamunde Pilcher and Joanne Harris, Joyce Maynard is one of my favorite writers in the world. I first met her shortly after I started blogging when I was sent a copy of Labor Day for review, which I absolutely loved. I later read her heartbreaking memoir – The Best of Us – while living in LA, and last year I was lucky enough to take part in her memoir-writing retreat on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. A life changing experience that I will never forget. She shaped and honed my skills as a writer and further confirmed my admiration for Joyce and her wonderful command of the written word. I wanted to read more of her books since the end of the retreat, but unfortunately, as so often, life was in the way. It wasn’t until I realized we were nearing the end of 2020 that I ordered one of her books, To Die For, which my dear friend Kari recommended to me.
Die for the book review
Exciting read from the very first page, To Die For by Joyce Maynard, is the kind of book you read in a single sitting – and that very sunny spring afternoon I lay on the rocks in Manly. To Die For is the perfect blend of literary fiction and mystery. It is a book about fidelity, sexual obsession, ambition, violence and the role that pop culture plays in society’s desire for satisfaction, self-actualization and ultimately love.
Loosely based on the true story of Pamela Smart, To Die For by Joyce Maynard tells the story of Suzanne Stone, an aspiring media journalist willing to do just about anything to be on TV. When a devoted husband begins talking about starting a family and moving here, she knows something has to change and enlists two teenagers to help plan his death.
Suzanne is a multi-layered figure, a sociopath, completely without conscience and a gifted manipulator. Her unreliability as a narrator increases the reader’s experience, and such a flawed protagonist makes the reading fast.
Maynard is narrated by multiple voices in an almost documentary fashion, skillfully interweaving alternating accounts of each of the key characters to create a layered and rich plot that will ask the reader for more until its climatic finale.
Dark, funny, and ahead of its time, To Die For is an undeniable book that examines how far people will go to seize their chance for fame and fortune.
Buy to die from Waterstones, Amazon, or Amazon AU.
Die for the summary
When her husband is shot by her teenage boyfriend, the budding television journalist Suzanne Maretto steps into the role of the grieving widow with a brilliant performance. But few suspect its dark side. This creepy novel of ambition and sexual obsession goes behind the mask of an apple pie beauty to investigate the sinister manipulations of a hypnotizing femme fatale.
Joyce Maynard Author Bio
Joyce Maynard first attracted national attention as a newcomer to Yale with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back at Life” in 1973. She has since been a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose Domestic Affairs column has appeared in over fifty newspapers nationwide and is a regular contributor to NPR. Her writing has also been published in national magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine; Newsweek; The New York Times Magazine; Forbes; Salon; San Francisco Magazine, USA Weekly; and many more. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Charlie Rose, and Fresh Air. Essays by her appear in numerous collections. She was a Fellow at Yaddo, UCross and The MacDowell Colony, where she wrote her most recently published novel, Labor Day.
The author of many fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel To Die For (in which she also plays the role of Nicole Kidman’s lawyer) and the bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, Maynard, lives in Mill Valley, California. Her novel, The Usual Rules – A Story About Surviving Loss – was a favorite with audiences at book clubs of all ages and was selected by the American Library Association as one of the top ten books for young readers for 2003.
Joyce Maynard also leads the Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop in Guatemala, founded in 2002.
More Joyce Maynard books
If you loved to die, you might as well enjoy: The Best of Us, Under the Influence, At Home in the World, The Good Daughters, The Usual Rules, Labor Day, After Her and The Cloud Chamber.