Festival of Books
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Robert Blake
Southern California Close-Ups: San Fernando Valley
Southern California Close-Ups: San Fernando Valley

  First published on April 24, 2011. Revised and expanded in early 2012. The San Fernando Valley is 260 square miles of suburbia. Actually, make that suburbia on nutritional supplements. And antidepressants. With perhaps a little cosmetic surgery south of Ventura Boulevard, where the big money is. Or maybe -- now that it's grown to more than 1.7 million people in nearly three dozen cities and neighborhoods rich and poor – the Valley isn't even a suburb anymore. It begins just 10 miles northwest of Los Angeles City Hall, sprawling west to the Simi Hills, north to the Santa Susana Mountains and east to the Verdugo and San Gabriel mountains. Yet when you ask the natives...