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To Die for [Paperback]

Joyce Maynard
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 2003
When her husband is shot dead by her teenage boyfriend, would-be television journalist Suzanne Maretto steps into the role of grieving widow with a brilliant performance. But few suspect her dark side. This chilling novel of ambition and sexual obsession goes behind the mask of an apple-pie beauty to probe the sinister manipulations of a mesmerizing femme fatale.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A ruthlessly ambitious young woman recruits three high school misfits to kill her husband in Maynard's carefully constructed but somewhat unconvincing fact-based fiction, a Literary Guild selection in cloth.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Perky, aspiring newscaster Suzanne Maretto persuades her teenaged lover and his buddy to kill her straight-arrow husband; just deserts follow for all. Suzanne, who thinks that ``if people could just be on TV all the time, the whole human race would probably be a much better group of individuals,'' sets out to captivate the none-too-bright kids she's interviewing for a demo tape that'll get her out of her local (suburban Boston) station and onto the network fast track. There's Jimmy Emmet, who worships her as stupidly as does her hapless restaurant-family husband Larry; Russell Hines, who's just in it for the thousand dollars; and Lydia Mertz, who's so hopelessly smitten with Suzanne's big-sister glamour that she's willing to supply the gun. But the real culprits, as bestselling author/media-child Maynard (Baby Love, 1981; Domestic Affairs, 1987, etc.) keeps screaming in an amusingly flat series of self-revealing monologues, are Malibu Barbie, Victoria's Secret, Wheel of Fortune, abusive (or adoring) parents, and Donahue--all the accoutrements of cut-rate acculturation that give her characters such venal dreams and mindless determination. Maynard's ear for sincere garbage (``We're so connected, I can taste her Tic Tac,'' boasts Jimmy after Suzanne deflowers him) is as sharp as ever, but after 50 pages of such homogeneous stuff you'll start looking for the exit--unless, of course, your own taste for pulp romances of sex, power, and violence are just as depraved as the ones so lovingly excoriated here. What's most offensive here, as in Bret Easton Ellis's notorious American Psycho, is the raised-nostril pretense that this revolted attack on pop culture, already due for serialization in Penthouse, stands above it all. A more penetrating writer could have a field day analyzing recent popular fiction's disavowal of the tawdry culture that continues to grip it as tightly as Suzanne holds Jimmy. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best "voices" I've ever read. Feb. 18 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a creative writing teacher and an author myself, I recommend this book to all those aspiring writers who want to learn characterization. Maynard, I feel, has the best ear in the business for dialogue, and I stand in awe of what she has done in this book. She has chosen to evolve her plot via a series of small monologues spoken by the various characters, and the result is riveting. Here you see clearly that every character has their own agenda, and yet in telling their version of the truth, the reader is able to piece together what actually occurred. An utterly masterful job! Characters are drawn by not only WHAT they say, but HOW they say it. Here, diction and word choice are handled with such delicacy that it left me stunned. Her teenagers speak like teenagers (yet are distinct, too, one from another), and although her cast of characters is large, never do the individuals become stock characters. They always retain the uniqueness of the individual. -- Patricia Anthon
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5.0 out of 5 stars a scathing satire of our tv obsessed culture May 25 2004
Format:Paperback
Anyone who would read this book and think it was just a novelization of the Pam Smart story probably watches too many movies of the week on LifetimeTV. This book takes the idea of what happened in the Smart case and uses it as a skeleton to write a sharp and darkly funny FICTIONALIZED look at our society's obsession with television and celebrity.When this book was turned into a movie, a local t.v. station ran an interview with Pam Smart who was uspet about her portrayal in the film. It wouldn't have come as such a surprise to her if she had bothered to read the book. And why would she be upset if she didn't care about fame (or rather infamy)? Don't read this book and wonder how much of it is about Pam Smart but read it wonder how much of it is about our country, our neighbors and ourselves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A clever re-working of the Pamela Smart Story! Feb. 10 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Loosely based on the life of the New Hampshire schoolteacher (Pam Smart) who seduced two teenage boys into killing her dull husband, To Die For is a fun novel that fictionalizes a much talked about crime that made headlines a few years ago. Another case of where the book is much, much better than the movie (although the film by Gus Van Sant- starring Nicole Kidman as Suzanne, Matt Dillon as Larry, Casey Affleck as Russell and Joaquin Phoenix as Jimmy- did have its good moments), To Die For is easily one of my favorite books. Such a great book that it's inspiring me to maybe write a fictionalized story based on that lethal Long Island Lolita, Amy Fisher.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Escapist Reading June 4 2004
Format:Paperback
I've re-read this book several times. There is one thing that annoys me - the character Suzanne states, in a comparison, that Heather Locklear has brown eyes - and of course, Heather Locklear has BLUE eyes. Except for that glaring discrepancy, the book is an enjoyable escape into the world of a spoiled, self-centered psychopath. Joyce Maynard's writing flows and carrries the reader along effortlessly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tour de Force Sept. 6 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Maybe you have to be a writer to appreciate the breathtaking talent that went into the writing of this book. It is an incredible feat to be able to sustain multiple points of view as gracefully and altogether believably as Ms. Maynard did here. I can only admire her achievement.
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