5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
Seeing Stars, like other books by this author, is a down-to-earth story about ordinary people doing things that are interesting, but fall short of extraordinary - and Diane Hammond makes me want to be there! with those particular people! living-breathing their particular lives! until there are no more pages to turn.
With every word; every perfectly-selected unobtrusive detail, Hammond weds "extra" to "ordinary". She did it in "Hanna's Dream" and she's done it again in "Seeing Stars" (and in other books she's written). Hammond writes and magic happens; apparently she can't help it. Seeing Stars is good story told by a master story-teller. I think you'll like it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2010
Ruth Rabinowitz is helping her daughter Bethany find her niche in the rigorous and volatile television and/or motion picture business in Hollywood. But is it costing her her marriage and her sanity?
Mimi Rogers is a long-time, aggressive, cranky, talent agent for child, teenage and young adult actors. Coming to Hollywood as a struggling child actor herself that did not pan out, she became a talent agent by accident and the rest is history. She swore that she would not become attached to her proteges, but there is one young actor who touches her heart like no other, but what if this one fails?
Quinn Reilly is a talented young actor at the ripe old age of 14 years old who was pretty much abandoned by his parents who are footing his bills just to keep him out of their hair and abandoned by Mimi Rogers because he made a mistake while living under her roof. Now he resides with a down and out couple who allow him to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Will Quinn succeed in the business or will he fall prey to other temptations?
Allison Addison knows she isbeautiful and talented, but at what price? Mimi knows she is going to be famous, but will her personal life interfere with her dreams?
Laurel Buehl is a talented young actor who knows her mother is dying of cancer, but can't tell anyone. Her mother loves her too much to have Laurel give up her dream. Can Laurel keep her secret from her father and her friends?
This very unique story tells of the unglamorous world of Hollywood with the hard, often disappointing set backs of being a child actor. The characters are both vulnerable and strong. Their stories are uplifting, heartbreaking and soul searching.
Thank you to Ms. Hammond and LibraryThing's Early Reviewers for the opportunity to review this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2010
I have to disagree with the other three reviewers of this book. I absolutely loved Diane Hammond's first three books and couldn't wait for this one to be published. Ten or 15 pages into it I was bored and it really didn't get any better for me. I thought the story was disjointed and moved all over the place and the writing just seemed like it was done by someone else....certainly not by the person who so entralled me in Hannah's Dream and made me cry at the end. I was just happy to finish Seeing Stars and move on to something else.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2010
Everyone has a dream. And for many, Hollywood is the real field of dreams. In Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond, Ruth Rabinowitz dreams that her sweet, talented, thirteen year old daughter Bethany aka Bethy will make it big in La La land. So the supportive, but star struck Ruth and the talented, but "niche" actress Bethy leave their Seattle home, along with the loving, but emotionally unsupportive husband/father, Hugh Rabinowitz, and decamp to Hollywood to follow that dream.
Seeing Stars follows Ruth and Bethy's ride in the Hollywood funhouse of show biz. During the day the pair travel between auditions, call backs, bookings, showcases, and acting lessons. And every night ends with Ruth fervent prayer: "Please God, shine on my Bethany and make her a star." Along the way, the reader is introduced to other child actor hopefuls some with more money than talent and others with equal heapings of talent and problems. In fact a few of the side characters and their storylines are vastly more compelling than Ruth's and Bethy's saga of "how to be nice while reaching for the brass ring and is it really worth it?"
According to Hammond, the novel was inspired by her personal experiences of living for two years in Hollywood with her actress daughter. The author's insider's knowledge of the terrain is amply reflected in her writing. For example, Hammond writes in vernacular of the field: actors read "sides," not scripts and go "off book" when they have memorized their lines. Reading Seeing Stars for the insider's info/jargon alone makes the novel an enjoyable read.
Seeing Stars is an engrossing story of what really goes on behind closed studio doors.
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Original edition (March 23, 2010), 480 pages.
Advance review copy provided courtesy of TLC Book Tours.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2010
'Seeing Stars' is such an engaging story. Others writing here, before me, have summarized the aspiring-child-actors plot, set in LA. I agree that Hammond's insider knowledge of the Southern California TV/movie culture adds a lot to the novel, because it's integrated subtly into the writing in a comfortable, non-show-off way. To me, though, Hammond's greatest gift is creating a set of characters whose lives we come to really care about. The teens Bethany, Allison, Quinn, and others are multi-dimensional, as are their relationships with the adults in the book. At times sassy and never saccharine, those relationships are uplifting or heartbreaking or both. Throughout, a spirit of love shines through. The core idea here is that what matters-- whether right alongside Hollywood success or in its yawning absence-- is love: a person to care for, a person to care for you. I bought this book because I had so thoroughly enjoyed Hammond's earlier novel "Hannah's Dream," and I was very very pleased with this one too.
Ruth Rabinowitz knows her thirteen years old daughter Bethany is destined for stardom in Hollywood. Thus, she leaves behind her husband (Bethany's dad) and takes her teen to Los Angeles where she expects instant status.
As Bethany's manager Mimi Roberts renames her Bethany Ann Roosevelt, the child enters the world of humiliating rejections while her mom continues Seeing Stars. Bethany meets other teen wannabes with more experience at being cast off. Laurel hopes to be a star before her dying mom passes away. Allison the Texan has personal issues that interfere with her acting desires. Quinn, also from Seattle like Bethany is, has been abandoned by her abusive stepfather and ineffective mother, which makes Mimi her surrogate parent.
Fascinatingly the story line focuses mostly on the stage mother and her offspring as they face rounds of degrading rebuffs, yet the stereotyped three other teens steal the show with their personal troubles. In fact Ruth's epiphany about motherhood and stage motherhood detracts from the tense character driven saga of a teen trying to make it in Hollywood where the norm is debasing oneself only to receive demeaning dismissal.
on October 14, 2014
Diane Harmmond writes a very good book. Her material is current her dialogue excellent, settings, discriptions all engaging. The problem here is the way this is written. Much like "Tales of the City" for wana-be child stars. This bounces around from person to person around and around. Because of this it takes forever to get 'into' the book. I read and read for quite a while before I cared a bit about the characters. but after that it was hard to put down. I think if it were a bigger more serious book it might have worked quite well. But that really not the style of book Hammond writes ....maybe she should try. It would have been better focusing on one person with all the other characters secondary story lines. There have to be 5 primary story lines in this book. It is on occasionally laugh out load funny and I did enjoy it once I got into it. I can't say its not as good as her other books just crafted a bit differently with way too many characters for this kind of light contemporary novel type.
on April 22, 2010
Seeing Stars is the story of young Hollywood hopefuls and their families . It is about trying to achieve that elusive "booking" and the costs of seeking fame at a young age and is a compelling and well-written story. The characters are honest and unique -- even for a Hollywood setting. The story is contemporary, believable and told so authoritatively that I often forgot that I was reading a novel and not a true story. As a reader I was easily drawn into the world of this book and I found it hard to put down. From the sordid details of the Hollywood way to the inner-workings of families, it is an intimate experience and in many ways a cautionary tale. I highly recommend this book.
on January 8, 2013
The book and story held my interest throughout. The book was a bit dark and the charachters less than loveable. Perhaps my favorite character was a Quinn, a young actor. The teenager and her mother required delving into the book before the complexity of character, one Diane Hammond's talents, came through. LA and the acting business shows as gritty and tough. If you are looking for an upbeat read you may not want to read this book. It would be your loss. The book is compelling and story unusual. I was interested to gain some insight into one part of the Hollywood business. A strong interesting read.
on August 3, 2014
I really liked a couple of this authors other books but this one was just ok. The story is about kids trying to make it as actors in LA, and there are a few different main characters. It just seemed to me that the story went on and on with nothing really happening it really just didn't hold my interest and I wasn't thinking about the book while I wasn't reading it. To me that's the mark of a great book. The end also was a let down, it made the whole story seem irrelevant for some of the characters. All in all I would probably not recommend it.