Customer Review

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starlet's story in the Golden Age of Hollywood, July 28, 2012
This review is from: Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures (Hardcover)
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Laura LaMonts's Life in Pictures is set in the late 1920's and depicts the rise and fall of a Hollywood movie star. Elsa Emerson, as she is originally named, is born in Door County Wisconsin, to parents who run a theater company. Elsa has bold aspirations and as soon as she meets actor Gordon Pitts, who is cast with her in the play the "Royal Family", she knows that he is her ticket out of Wisconsin. Gordon Pitts from Florida is going to try his hand in motion pictures and when the theater season is over marries Elsa. Elsa eagerly leaves small town Wisconsin, however, a family tragedy leaves a imprint that will haunt her throughout her life.

Once arriving in Los Angles, Gordon Pitts finds work as a contract player at the Gardner Brother Studios. Elsa has two children in quick succession as she becomes disillusioned with both her husband and their life together. At a studio party and pregnant with her second child, she meets Irving Green , the silent partner in Gardner Brother Studios. Irving is enamored with Elsa and suggests that she come and see him at his studio after her baby is born. With the snap of a finger, Irving also changes her name to Laura LaMont and subsequently the trajectory of her future.

Emma Straub writes with a keen eye on what it takes to make it and sustain it in the Hollywood of the 1930s, 40's, and 50s. Laura's career spans four decades with many untold highs and lows. Her love and losses as well as the difficulties managing a career while remaining a good mother is explored with understanding and compassion. Throughout, Laura LaMont's talent and fortitude make this story uniquely her own, as she comes to realize that fame may not be all its cracked up to be and poignant memories from the past not easily forgotten.

Laura LaMont's Life in Pictures is subtle and at times slow moving. There is not much of a plot. Do not expect to read about the Hollywood of Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt. Unfortunately Laura's perfunctory best friend, the family she left behind and her three children do not always help to strengthen her story. Still this is a different kind of story that depicts the fascinating history of a time in Hollywood that I knew little about. What Emma Straub does best is depict the emotional toll demanded in those that balance career with family.
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3.7 out of 5 stars (88 customer reviews)
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