This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Amanda Keats
For Elsa Emerson, acting has always been in her family. Growing up in Door County, Wisconsin, Elsa first gets the acting bug when asked to play a small role for one of the shows currently showing at her family-run playhouse. So when an ambitious young actor asks her to marry him a few years later, she jumps at the chance of a life in Hollywood. When one of the bigshot producers sees her and gives her a new name – Laura Lamont – she finally manages to become the Hollywood actress she always wished she could be.
Laura Lamont's Life In Pictures is a spellbinding tale of Hollywood glamour but it is more about two women: the sweet, young dreamer, Elsa, and the confident, beloved and successful, Laura. It is this central woman, and the two sides to her life, which makes the story quite so compelling. As she becomes a massively successful actress, finds love and has children, Laura leaves Elsa behind almost entirely. Of course, she can never fully leave behind the first seventeen years of her life; her parents and sister are back home in Wisconsin and the plays that the family put on in the Cherry County Playhouse are what began her love of acting. In reality, Laura discovers, Hollywood is not just a few states away from Wisconsin; it is another world entirely.
As a writer, Straub clearly has no qualms in revealing both the highs and lows of the life of a celebrity and follows Laura at her most blissfully happy and at the very depths of her depression. Success, too, is rarely consistent and the reader is given a glimpse at life in Hollywood and life in the public eye. As Laura gets older, the jobs become fewer and more far between and as events transpire over which she has no control, Laura finds herself playing the part not just for work but all the time – as she is pulled between the many sides of her own personality which she has created.
Laura Lamont's Life In Pictures is a delicious tale of love: love of work and success, love of children, romantic love and, most importantly, love for oneself. Straub manages to encapsulate the golden era of 1930s Hollywood (and even takes the reader to the Academy Awards!) with such exquisite detail that – short of Doctor Who himself coming down in the TARDIS and offering to take you there personally – it is as close as many of us will ever get to experiencing it for ourselves. An emotional and captivating delight.
Emma Straub's Website