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My Hollywood (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – August 9, 2011
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. The Help is her first novel. Read her review of My Hollywood:
My Hollywood: Step into the glittering lives of Hollywood America, as scrubbed, wiped, and polished by immigrant women. It's so refreshing that a book can be this poignant, satirical, and heartbreaking at once. You might find yourself laughing at your own life as you read what the help says and thinks behind the backs of American housewives. You'll wonder at the intricate system of the modern household--where one mother pays another to give her children love. It illuminates the differences between American and immigrant mothers--until you realize how alike we are! The vivid accents and the vibrant voices of the children continue to ring in my ear. I loaned it to my mom and she took it to Mississippi with her and won't send it back. I'll be buying a copy of my own.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Told alternately from the perspective of Claire, a composer and the mother of a young son; and Lola, the Filipina nanny whom she hires to watch her child when she is working, the story covers a lot of the challenges that the working mother faces, including the guilt involved in choosing to continue with a career when having a young child. I am not sure if the author was trying to portray the hectic and often scattered nature of the working mother when using Claire as the narrator, but I found her sections a bit serpentine and unfocused. From Lola's narrative, we also get insights into a close community of nannies who bond together and share their own challenges, which in many cases includes being working mothers themselves.
Nobody's perfect in this book. Mistakes are made on both sides of the spectrum. I think the author actually nailed a lot of the challenges to parenting these days, but overall, the story gets flat and repetitive as the book goes on. Perhaps this is because the everyday trials and tribulations of the average mom tend to be a bit boring after awhile in real life as well as on the page. Everyone's just doing what they think is best for their family, but there is really not much excitement there. The book was just okay.
Claire's angst about parenting, difficulty with her marriage, and 'side plot' with her mom are craftily weaved together to form a realistic picture of a life unsure. Simpson's insight into the character's emotional and psychological outlook is deftly presented. Claire is an unhappy woman in her 30s, trapped in a life she grudgingly wants to make work. The reader is taken along for the ride as if sitting alone at the dining room table, waiting for her husband night after night, with Claire. The emotional impact of Claire comes from the character's realism - right down to gastrointestinal issues after a rare night out with her husband.
Lola is perhaps the novel's more interesting narrator, but her relatively exotic origin (at least for an American reader) is also the novel's greatest weakness. Simpson attempts to narrate in first person with all of the quirks that a non-native English speaker would have. It doesn't quite come across as patronizing, but as Simpson implicitly admits in the Acknowledgements section, she is at least a little bit out of her element as a writer. Some of Lola's narrative is hard to follow, but her emotional impact becomes increasingly strong as the novel progresses. We come to understand why Lola deeply loves the children she cares for.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
tortured dialect, plot that doesn't really come together. But still the book grew on me with a friendly complacency. Meh.Published 2 days ago by kharmadog
This novel gives an amazing insight into the psyches of two contrasting characters - written in the alternating voices of an artist/housewife/mother and the Filipino nanny who... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Elizabeth
This is an extraordinary literary work. Ten years in the writing, Mona Simpson expertly tells a story that is really nothing more than everyday life (not much of a plot, per se,... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Cathryn Conroy
Interesting to note differences in American culture and Filipino culture. Parts of the book were funny. Overall it was entertaining but kind of off the wall and almost dreamlike. Read morePublished on June 16, 2014 by georgia johnson
As a mother in Los Angeles dealing with all these issues I loved this novel. The horror of realizing your husband won't shoulder his share of parenting…or even come home before... Read morePublished on May 14, 2014 by Yoga Love
My Hollywood was a book that I could not get through. Too many characters cluttered up the whole story. Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by Michelle Marie Quimby
After new parents Claire and Paul move from New York City to Hollywood, chasing Paul's dreams of becoming a sitcom writer, they hire Lola to help with baby William. Read morePublished on March 31, 2014 by Joanna M
Readable, but seemed strereotyped to me. Fillippino dialects unconvincing. Made babysitters seem like second-class citizens in an otherwise wealthy community.Published on March 29, 2014 by Emily P. Williams