Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thoughts on 'The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer'

"The man behind the mask is looking for the book with the pages torn out!"

A book by Jennifer Lynch

Starting on Laura Palmer's 12th birthday and ending just a few days before her death, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer offers a unique insight into the mind of our beloved victim. 

I recently decided to reread this book since the hype of Twin Peaks returning has heightened everything related to the show. I had only read it once before when I was 17 years old. At that time it was impossible to find a copy, because it was out of print. A girl I knew from school mentioned she had a copy and I begged her to let me borrow it. We weren't that close of friends so she probably thought I was completely weird when I kept asking her to bring it into school for me. However she finally did and I was thrilled. I recall at that time thinking it was terrific, a little sexy and offered some new information on Laura's life. Also being a teenage girl myself and having kept a diary of my own for years, I could relate to the way it was written. 

Rereading this book now as an adult I found it disturbing on a whole new level. Because it's supposed to be a diary, the writing is chopped up. At times it seemed childish and at other times it almost seemed like the ramblings of a crazy person. There are moments when Bob takes over Laura's thoughts and speaks to her through her writing. I found that very unsettling, but I still liked it. I've always felt anything with Bob is horrifyingly fun.

Half way through The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer I was entrenched in the sickness of it. At times I almost felt guilty for reading a diary about Laura's pain and liking it. Her story is the most haunting throughout the show and obviously in the movie as well. So while reading her internal thoughts I felt like I was intruding in a way and making her more of a victim somehow. I guess that makes it a good read. There is a lot to take in within the pages of this book, but mostly I felt sad for Laura. 

The last 10 pages or so of the book I thought were the best. There were several mentions of things related to the series that got me thinking. Cooper reads to Ben Horne when they arrest him for Laura's murder on the show that Laura wrote, "I'm going to have to tell the world about Benjamin." It's always been my impression that she might be referring to the fact that Ben Horne is Donna's father. Or possibly the fact that he owned One Eyed Jack's. 

It was also interesting to read about her trysts with several women, including Josie and Blackie. I never got the feeling from Josie on the show that she was bisexual. The most touching was the way Laura genuinely cared for Johnny Horne. His reaction to her death in the series makes a deeper sense now. In the book Laura says she felt James was her last chance to find the light. It made me think of Laura and James' final moments in the woods in FWWM before she jumps off his motorcycle at Sparkwood & 21. She was so fucked up at that point and essentially making her life ending choice by telling James to let her go.

At the core of Twin Peaks is Laura's tragic death. In this book the reader gets a front row seat to what was lurking in her mind. It makes sense why she "allowed" herself to be killed. Her choice was to either let Bob inhabit her or die. Not great options. Her demise took years. Her drug and sexual exploits dictated her life and all because she felt like if she did bad things Bob might not want her anymore. I think Jennifer Lynch did a great job expressing Laura's feelings and gave fans a dark, yet insightful peek into what led to where the show begins.

In my opinion, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is a "must read" for Twin Peaks fans. You'll see it fits nicely into the show's mythology. Even as a stand alone novel it holds it's own. In 2016 or 2017, I have a feeling we'll all be getting lost in those woods again. Thinking of that raises a good question, can Bob be killed? Listen here to Sheryl Lee reading an excerpt from the book in 1990.

Enjoy this clip of Jennifer Lynch talking about the book below!

You may also like ---- > Laura Walked With Me

1 comment:

  1. I agree Laura's story is very sad. I wonder how it will play out in 2016.