My Literary Year

What a delightful way to start 2021 – with one of my favourite genres: a literary movie. I don’t care if it’s a war-torn drama (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society), a meta-movie about writing a movie (Adaptation), a literary hoax (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), a bookshop (The Mystery of Henri Pick). Along as there are books or authors or publishing issues then I’m front and centre.

My Salinger Year – it’s all in the title. Joanna comes straight from a MA program in California to New York to write. But first, she needs to eat. After no job hunting – seriously envious -she lands a plumb job as personal assistant to Margaret, a literary agent who represents J D Salinger (Harold Ober Associates).

The movie is charming – we’re thrust back into a virtually pre-digital age. A time of phone boxes and long lunches. Oh, and smoking. Lots of smoking. And no job hunting – imagine being told about a job at a rooftop party and then getting that job. Shakes head. (And yes I know I’ve repeated myself but seriously, no job hunting).

It’s difficult not to like Joanna (Margaret Qualley) even if she is a bit too wide-eyed and somewhat annoyingly naïve. But then that’s the point – she can’t be world-weary – she needs to be an ingénue in the New York Publishing scene.

Power role goes to Joanna’s boss Margaret (Sigourney Weaver – brava performance and some seriously great garb). Of course, Margaret is somewhat fractious, an essential ingredient in all boss/employee movies, but not in a Miranda (The Devil Wears Prada) way. Margaret is the right type of contemporary boss—encouraging and kind but eye-rolling is allowed.

It’s a bildungsroman movie based on Joanna Rakoff’s bio-book which is apparently very funny and now sits on my Christmas reading pile. As does Catcher in the Rye – one of my least favourite books, it’s time I re-read it as an adult. Ah, books, glorious books.

The best part is guessing the pictures of the authors. I think I got them all – can you?

Definitely worth the price of admission and popcorn.

Release: 14 January

Run-time: 101 mins

Rating: M

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