The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (Twin Peaks)

Narrated by: Sheryl Lee
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (799 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lifeless and wrapped in plastic. This is how Sheryl Lee was first introduced as "Laura Palmer" in the cult television classic, Twin Peaks. Now, Sheryl returns to voice Laura's darkest secrets in the audiobook event that fans of the show have long awaited. Commissioned by series creators Mark Frost and David Lynch and written by Lynch's daughter, Jennifer - who was told she was one of "three air breathing mammals to know the identity of Laura's killer" - The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer became an integral part of the Twin Peaks canon.

The diary chronicles Laura's life from age 12 to her death at 17 and provides a harrowing backstory to the event that set the entire series in motion. In intimate diary entries, Laura goes from a happy and naïve tween to a tormented soul posing behind the phony smile of homecoming queen. Plagued by visions of a creepy man with long hair - a demonic presence she comes to know as "BOB" - Laura falls into a world of drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, and prostitution to escape. But as she's swallowed deeper and deeper into the abyss, Laura is forced to question the reality of who and what BOB really is.

With hidden Easter eggs, glimpses at the origins of principal characters, and clues to the identity of her eventual killer, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is required listening for diehard fans of the original show, and essential background for the 2017 revival.

©1990 Twin Peaks Productions, Inc. (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
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Wrapped in plastic

As a newcomer to 'Twin Peaks' I hadn't read this novel when it came out so the audio recording was my introduction to Laura's diary. It's a very raw, dark story and a far cry from the quirkiness of the show (take this as a warning if necessary). Jennifer Lynch's writing is very strong and elevates what could have been a gimmick in other hands.

As to the narration, Sheryl Lee gives a very powerful performance as Laura, delivering a very emotional, harrowing and devastating experience for the listener. Her performance as BOB in particular is downright sinister. It's hard to listen to at times, which is a compliment to be talent.

One minor issue: Flipping to my Kindle version I noticed that at various points throughout the story the reader is informed that pages have been ripped from the diary. In the recording there are no indications that the diary has been tampered with. I imagine most people will miss out on this element just listening to the audio.

Small caveats aside, this is essential listening for 'Twin Peaks' completists.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Devastating subject matter written in a cute stye

THE SECRET DIARY OF LAURA PALMER is a book which is difficult to review because the subject matter is so dark and disturbing while being written in a deliberately girlish teenaged girl style. Jennifer Lynch was only twenty-two when she wrote this book so she wasn't that far from Laura Palmer's age when attempting to do a story about a woman who suffered from child molestation, demonic possession, drug-abuse and eventually went on to become a prostitute before being horribly murdered by the mysterious BOB. It's a weird dichtonomy which at times is terrible to read but other times fascinating.

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer was written in 1990 at the height of Twin Peak's popularity, between the first and second season, when the question of who murdered the homecoming queen was a national mystery in the United States. The book doesn't really stand on its own as much of the appeal of the story is about discovering how she formed her relationships with characters like Bobby Briggs, Leo, Jacques Renault, and other characters. However, due to the miracle of streaming video and DVD, it's entirely possible to view the show for the first time today without missing a beat.

So what do I think of the book? Well, I have mixed feelings even taking into account the fact I'm a huge Twin Peaks fan. A large portion of the book deals with her adolescence and awakening sexuality (as I imagine many teenaged girls' diaries do) while rushing past the more interesting elements like how she was recruited to be a prostitute at One-Eyed Jacks or her relationship with James Hurley and Donna. Once Laura begins her cocaine obsession, the book becomes appropriately manic so her level of introspection is low. Knowing some people who suffered from such addictions, I'd argue the book actually is too good at depicting such things.

Fans of the series will pick up on the many clues which point to who is the murderer of Laura Palmer well before the actual mystery was meant to be solved. In fact, I was surprised at how the book more or less telegraphed the source of the evil going on in the Palmer household. If nothing else, it becomes painfully obvious poor Laura is suffering repeated attacks by someone close to her. This is also one of the most painful parts of the book to read as there's no real release from the fact our heroine is going t endure this her entire life before it gets her killed.

For those who hate issues of sexual or child abuse even in the abstract, this is not the book for them, even as it's the story of someone dealing with it. Unfortunately, despite the realism and insights into Laura's character, I can't say I found much interest in reading about how a adolescent girl is exploited by a bunch of criminals around her that makes up half of the book. Indeed, I was tempted to give this book 1 star because of the subject matter's tastelessness before I stopped to note it's supposed to be horrible.

Amidst these scenes, also, are some genuinely affecting ones. The story of how Laura Palmer tried to "free" her horse (a gift from a rich relative) from the evil household she was trapped in, only for it to become starved and need to be put down, for example is an amazingly tragic little snippet. So is Laura's slow realization of just what was done to her as she approaches adulthood as well as how hard it is to approach anyone about it. Her healthiest relationship is also with her female lover, Ronette Pulaski, who is someone it wasn't easy to come out about in 1990.

In short, this is a hard book for me to have read and I didn't really get too much more than I got from TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME but I suspect it's a matter of taste. This is a book about a young woman's ugly journey and the evil men did to her which has no happy ending. Yet, Laura was a good soul and any self-hatred she felt was because of what other people imposed on her rather than anything she did.

Audiobook note: The audiobook is narrated by Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer's actress) and that's great but her attempt to do a cutsie teenager's voice when she's a grown woman is kind of off-putting. The narration improves, however, once we reach a somewhat older age for the character.

30 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disturbing but not in an enjoyable way.

If your a fan of the show you have an idea why Laura led a double life. She is 13 when it starts and 16 when she's killed. This book is many things, but at it's core is the destruction of a child through sexual abuse. I'm grateful for the deeper understanding of the show, but horrified as well. It was very well written by then 19 year old (?!?) Jennifer Lynch. Sheryl Lee acts the hell out of this roll and deserves much recognition. I recommend it for very committed fans only. The passive fan may find it too disturbing for the rewards.

25 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Started off great..

The ending makes you wanted to google its meaning..
Laura Palmers issues went on and on and on...there was no relief from them.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love Twin Peaks!!!

As a fan of Twin Peaks and being so excited about the news season it was a special treat to listen to "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer" read by the voice of Laura Palmer Sheryl Lee. I really loved it and if you are a fan of the show, you will love it too.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A view into the transformation of Laura Palmer

The book is a very interesting insight into the world of Twin Peaks and the mind of Laura Palmer. The tone of the book (Laura's diary entries) progressively becomes darker and darker, all well captured by S.Lee's performance. Needless to say, the book is probably best suited for TP fans, as others may follow along the tragic story but may not enjoy in full the details of the story.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fell down the rabbit hole with Laura.

Great reading by Sheryl Lee. Thoroughly enjoyed it, I'm a wreck! I think I was moody and ill tempored to everyone as I was listening to it.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Challenging, sickening, evil

A tragedy that left me in furious tears several times.
Very well written, but the performance by Sheryl Lee is so captivating to me that I was tempted to give “overall” and “story” only four stars to emphasize what she brings to the table.
Even if you’ve already read this in paperback I guarantee that this will break you.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Heartbreaking

Laura Palmer knew nothing but Hell the years leading up to her murder. Now her secret diary has been found, chronicling the events and thoughts had by the troubled teen before she met her fate at the hands of BOB. Dig deeper into the lore of Twin Peaks with this must read addition.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

ugh. don't waste your time!

This was a painful slog that picked up a bit in the middle before nose diving. I watched Twin Peaks as a tween and thought this could be a nice blast from the past. Nope.

1 person found this helpful