One of Abbott's five best books about inamoratas and other women, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
At Home in the WorldRead about another book on Abbott's list.
by Joyce Maynard (1998)
This tell-almost-all memoir recounts how an 18-year-old print-media starlet became, for a year, the mistress of one of America's most famous and reclusive authors. Joyce Maynard was an adorable though anorexic gamine who subsisted on ice cream and apples; J.D. Salinger was a 53-year-old health fanatic who praised her writing and seduced her. Maynard quit attending Yale, moved into Salinger's austere home and tried to do his bidding. She was a disappointment—at sex and at following his dietary dictates. (She sneaked ice cream.) On a Florida holiday, Salinger ordered her to pack up and go. Written 25 years later, "At Home in the World" makes irresistible reading, but it also sounds like a pained transcription of conversations and quarrels in a deteriorating affair that Salinger quickly regretted but that Maynard cannot let go of.