As soon as you grab this book, you think this is just about #Metoo movement and cursing more to the guy leaned on a walker throughout trails, dropping his Crocodile tears. But this book is beyond sexual allegations, psychical and mental tortures women have been enduring to take a leading role in LaLa land.
This is amazing, realistic portrait of a childhood artist facing with the realities of the biggest industry of the world, learning how to survive without getting any emotional support of her loved ones, forming fake, artificial relationships, put herself on her a spiral, loses in a dangerous rabbit hole of alcohol, drugs, self-destruction.
This is Grace’s heart wrenching and thought-provoking story: a child star became famous almost overnight. You think it lasted in fifteen minutes as Andy Warhol said but unfortunately she didn’t get away so easy. She was manipulated by the man she worked for and suffered from his hot-cold manners, instable emotional turmoil. The man forced her to work on the stunts she never wanted to but she did it anyways to get his approval. After her sister’s born, she already lost her own parents’ interest and now she was swimming in the ocean full of sharks and she needed a life buoy to hold on to for surviving, but she chose the wrong guy to trust.
Yes, the guy’s name is Able in his forties, married with children, playing mind games with Grace and Grace turned into mild Fatal Attraction kind of obsessive, stalking Abe’s wife and children, befriending them.
And of course at her 21, she is married with Dylan who is the only kind and decent character of the book (One of his kind and he is hard to be found in Hollywoodland.) Two young guys are still children but they tried so hard to act like adults and ruin everything with their relationship.
Grace gets lost and turns back to Anaheim to live with her parents (that’s where the book start and we go back and forth of her journey between past and present to know how she lost herself and struggling to find her place on this earth!) but as you may imagine, her self-absorbed mom and her dad didn’t welcome her with open hands or ask her what is happening to her. One year later they kick her out. And she turns back to Hollywood but she doesn’t know what she’s doing, how she’s going to cope!
I enjoyed intriguing writing, realistic approach of movie industry and struggles of young actress. This is amazing book how women fight for their way to land meaningful behind the camera gigs, how important for them to speak and raise their voices, support each other to get the praise they fully earned.
The characterization is satisfying, complex, layered. Pacing is good, keeping your interest intact.
The only thing I didn’t like the epilogue and vague ending. I was so ready to give five stars but that indecisive ending didn’t work so well for me! And I have to admit, I’m so surprised this is a debut novel but I’m also happy we have a brand new talented writer on the board . By the way she has great choices about eating places at Abbott Kinney. (Grace meets with her friends at my favorite cafes.)
Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sending me this unique ARC and congratulations to Ella Berman for her writing journey and this amazing book.
Of the grand order of folio leviathans, the Sperm Whale and the Right Whale are by far the most noteworthy. They are the only whales regularly hunted by man. To the Nantucketer, they present the two extremes of all the known varieties of the whale. As the external difference between them is mainly observable in their heads; and as a head of each is this moment hanging from the Pequod's side.