Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

I was going through my stack of "Writer's Digest" magazines and in the Dec. 2008 issue I read an article on pacing which included a reference to "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" It's a short story by Joyce Carol Oates, one that I hadn't read in years. I wanted to read it again but decided to watch the movie adaptation first, "Smooth talk" which came out in 1986.

I remember the movie for Laura Dern's excellent performance as Connie, the angst filled teenager. Treat Williams played Arnold Friend, the smooth talking seducer. The original story was set in the 1950's and the film takes place in eighties.

Oates based her story on serial killer Charles Schmid, also known as "The Pied Piper of Tucson," a man who seduced and murdered teenage girls. The smooth talking, manipulative and menacing predator knows just how to persuade Connie, the young, beautiful and rebellious teen who is having problems with her family. It's a story with so many facets and Connie's unexpected heroism at the end will stick in your mind.

Watch the film for Laura Dern's performance, read the original story for all the many layers and facets.

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