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Book review: Jessica Hagedorn’s “Toxicology”

Way back in 2007, I got to have my copy of “Dogeaters” signed by Jessica Hagedorn herself. She was in the country at the time to watch the first staging of the play that was adapted from her critically-acclaimed first novel, and I was lucky enough that my editor sent me to cover it.

From what I can remember of that short meeting, Jessica Hagedorn seemed like that cool aunt whose visits you always looked forward to. Her hair was spiky with blonde highlights at the time, and the think eyeliner she had on only reinforced that impression.

I had a less favorable regard for “Dogeaters” though, mostly stemming from the fact that I read it as a college sophomore and I found her short, quick-fire sentences to be exhausting to read. I was — still am — a big Nick Joaquin fan at the time, and I loved me some commas and semicolons.

Ten years after “Dogeaters”, Jessica Hagedorn is back with another novel. “Toxicology”, which tells the story of Mimi Smith and Eleanor Delacroix, two women who find their lives increasingly intertwined as they succumb to addiction and obscurity.

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