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The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch

November 3, 2018

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Jennifer Lynch, daughter of Twin Peaks creator David Lynch, wrote this diary as backstory to Laura Palmer, the famous body wrapped in plastic that kicks off the Twin Peaks series. It was released between seasons 1 and 2, but is actually closer companion to Fire Walk With Me, the film created after the original series about the week leading up to Laura’s murder. While it’s unclear how much David Lynch consulted this book as he created the film, Sheryl Lee, who plays Laura Palmer, has said in interviews that this book was invaluable.

This book, like Fire Walk With Me, is really only for Twin Peaks fans. I read it after having seen the series, so it served more to round out some of the characters than answer any mysteries, but a careful reading might lead a reader to conclude who killed Laura and, importantly the identity of BOB.

I was surprised at the quality of the writing. It captures the voice of a young girl—one who ages from 12 to 17 over the course of the book—and feels authentic without feeling teeny-bopper. And the juxtaposition of the young voice with the dark material underscores how tragic the story is. As heavy as the tv series was, it was restricted to what could be shown on network television. Fire Walk With Me delved into a much seedier, graphic representation of Twin Peaks. Likewise, this book is graphic at parts, so much so that some bookstores refused to carry it when it was released. Despite this, and a testament to the popularity of the show, the book reached #4 on The New York Times paperback fiction bestseller list in 1990.

Not a necessary read to “get” Twin Peaks, but a solid expansion of the story.

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