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Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures Audible – Unabridged

3.7 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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By Ms Winston VINE VOICE on August 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As I indicated in the title, I wanted so much to like this book but I just struggled to finish it. It was not a difficult read, but it was rather a boring one. Small town girl goes to Hollywood during the days of the Depression and ends up making it big in pictures -- the book follows her career and her marriages up through the early 1980's, but is just lackluster. Yes, the author is familiar with contract players and the old studio system (and how it changed), but as far as I am concerned she never brought the characters to life. Laura was frankly not particularly interesting and her marriages just seemed more like something out of a made-for-television movie for "Lifetime." If Laura brought magic to the screen, as the author suggests, she did not bring magic to the book. And I expected to be treated to long dead actors and actresses who were actually alive and making films during that time period, while for the most part what we got instead were mentions of them. I just found the book rather odd -- there was no real plot, just episodes that happened in different decades of Laura's life and career strung together. Not a terrible novel, just more a disappointing one.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was predisposed to like the new novel LAURA LAMONT'S LIFE IN PICTURES as the Old Hollywood setting is very appealing to me. And while the story of "Laura Lamont" hits all the usual Tinsel Town notes of failed marriages, drug addiction, corrupt studio bosses,jealousy, mental illness and suicide attempts the book is not only unoriginal but surprisingly not very compelling.

Laura was born Elsa in the resort area of Door County, Wisconsin in the 1920's. Her parents ran a small theater company there and the tragic death of her sister left a lasting impact on her life. As a teenager Elsa/Laura meets and marries another young actor in the company and together they take off for LA to try and conquer the movies. After two children the marriage ends unhappily and Elsa is taken under the wing of a studio executive who changes her name to Laura Lamont, rewrites her history and marries her. An Academy Award soon follows for Laura but also lots of setbacks and angst. The story ends with her returning to her roots in live theater.

Elsa/Laura and the other characters she encounters never really came alive for me and despite the sensational setting the book is quite dull. "Laura Lamont" is decently written though some strange choices in sentence structure sometimes make it more difficult to comprehend than necessary. The author hints at large themes but never really explores them. The book falls somewhere between a three and a four rating but became so tedious to read especially toward the end I am rounding down to a three.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In "Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures," author Emma Straub tells the story of Laura Lamont, Hollywood star, from her early days in her father's small Minnesota theater through her ups and downs in the studios of California, to her eventual comeback in her later years on Broadway. Laura's tale of motion picture success could be that of any quintessential starlet--or it could be based on a favorite screen goddess (or a composite of many) from Hollywood's golden era pantheon. Whatever Straub's intention, she presents her main character in the three-way mirror of her ambition and her desire for love in a straightforward story line that does indeed tell a chronological tale. Unfortunately, Straub's portrayal of Lamont and her so-called glamorous life waxes anemic rather than exciting and tinsel-shiny; Elsa/Laura seems nothing more than a frail leaf caught up in a studio wind of which she has no control. Not endowed with true grit, or femme fatalism, she simply simpers and we, as the reading audience, don't cheer for her or feel vindicated as she rides out her eventual downward spiral to other, smaller triumphs. Instead we fall prey to reading on, hoping the story will get better while ultimately descending into a rather boring "Big Sleep" of mediocrity.

Straub goes out of her way to describe Elsa's background--the history of her family, her sisters' influence and her mother's hard knuckle approach to anything she doesn't understand. When Elsa becomes Laura, hitting upon success after success once she is noticed by a studio head, the prose is so flat and emotionless that the reader is barely moved to even celebrate along with what should be genuine enthusiasm for someone who has had the will and has found the way.
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Format: Hardcover
Based on Entertainment Weekly's ecstatic review, I was primed to love this book. Too bad. I found it listless and kind of pointless. Elsa/Laura goes through the motions of a life without much in the way of emotion or reflection. Not much of big historical importance (WW2, Viet Nam Draft, TV's move from B&W to Color, the relaxation of the Hays Code which allowed swearing and nudity) gets much attention even when it would have imposed on her family's life.
Further, Ms. Straub would have done well to have an older proof reader to help her avoid such current anomalies as "wellness center" among others. If you want a real movie star memoir from this period, Mary Astor wrote the best one. She was oblivious and morally blind in ways this author isn't mature enough to even imagine. This book is just straight ahead bland.
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