- Books, Literature, and Writing
Retro Reading: Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn by Julia Sorel
Alexander Gets His Own Story after Dawn's Success
Back in the 1970's the three major television networks were "pushing the envelope" with teenagers in trouble. It was evident with the movies of the week they were producing.
With the success of Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, it didn't take long for a sequel to come about. So in May of 1977 (eight months after the success of Dawn) Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn debuted.
Of course the film was novelized into a tie in and the book is a lot different.
Picking up in the moments leading to the end of Dawn this follows Alexander Duncan, the son of a rich rancher in Texas who wants to become an artist. While his father doesn't approve he kicks Alexander off the ranch to fend for himself. His parents are also given a much bigger role in the book than in the movie.
Another character which is fully developed is Buddy, the hustler who takes Alexander under his wing on the first night he arrives in Hollywood.
Buddy is featured throughout the book- sometimes as a friend and sometimes as a foe and he knows about Dawn whereas in the film version he doesn't mention knowing her. The book (as well as the movie) shows Alexander before meeting Dawn.
Another aspect to the book which is rarely seen in the film has Dawn trying to get on with her life back in Arizona. She wants to be with Alexander but he won't let her come back to Hollywood. When they do talk, Dawn tries to make it seem like life's treating her good when in fact she's miserable and would rather be with him.
Since Alexander comes from a wealthy family his mother occasionally sends him money and surprises him by showing up at his apartment. Even though she would rather he be back home, she takes this time to make this a vacation for herself.
In the movie, Alexander at times is shown living on the street. He meets Charles Selby, a closeted gay football player at an art gallery (in the movie) but in the book they meet at a party while discussing art. He offers Alexander a job as a houseboy but the book doesn't show any of Alexander's problems with the law.
The book also has a different ending and surprisingly, this book (along with the movie) are more in demand than Dawn which is strange for a sequel.