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Review: The Starlet by Mary McNamara

19 Jun

The Starlet: A Novel My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve been on vacation for the past week, hence the lack of blog posts.

While sitting next to the hotel swimming pool, I picked up The Starlet.  I packed it because I thought it would be good for exactly this scenario.  I was right. This is a perfect vacation read.

From the back of the book:

It’s a not-so-well-respected rule in Hollywood that what happens on location stays on location. But when a hot young leading man winds up dead in his Rome hotel room, his costar’s life is about to go off the rails in a very public way—even by celeb standards.

At the tender age of twenty-three, Mercy Talbot has won an Oscar, battled addiction, wrecked more than her share of cars, and burned down her house. Her look-alike mother keeps her on a tight leash (and fueled with an endless supply of OxyContin and cocaine) and her producers demand a grueling schedule. By the time she stumbles across Juliette Greyson, a Hollywood insider on a much-needed vacation, Mercy is surrounded by photographers and about to emerge drunk, high, and naked from a public fountain. Whisking her away to an idyllic Tuscan ‘retreat,’ Juliette is about to discover another rule of Hollywood: wherever the starlet may go, the drama will follow.

The Starlet works because of the story– not the plot, not the characters, not the writing (although all of those things contribute to the success of the book) but how they come together to tell a story.

None of the characters are completely lovable, although Juliette and her cousin Gabriel are mostly easy to sympathize with. The fun is in deciding which of the other characters to love, to hate, to pity, and to see how many of those you can do simultaneously.

This book manages to be entertaining while simultaneously not trivializing the impact that drugs can have on a person’s life. I think this works because the writing was so good.

The serious side of this book comes from the dealing with drugs mentioned above. Mercy (the Starlet) is out of control in her use of them, Juliette and Gabriel have managed to get past that in their own lives. Various other characters use and abuse drugs as well.

The lighthearted side comes from the craziness of life on a movie set, particularly when the movie is behind schedule and being rewritten scene by scene. The characters range from slightly larger than life to completely over the top, which suits the Hollywood scene very well.

There is enough of a mystery to keep the plot moving along, and to keep you guessing as to the motives of various characters.

Each moment in the book was vivid, and portrayed what was needed for the scene to work. I loved the descriptions of the Italian countryside, and I usually don’t stop to notice that sort or thing– maybe it was the cinematic theme, but this book was much more visual than average for me.

All in all, a great vacation read. If you want more information about the book, check out Mary McNamara’s website.  The website is a lot of fun if you are interested in writing and/or celebrities.

I received The Starlet for review from Regal Literary. They are sponsoring a contest for bloggers reviewing The Starlet . I’m planning to enter, but the contest didn’t affect my interest in reading the book or my review of it. If you’re interested, see the details at Mary McNamara’s website.

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5 Comments

Posted by on June 19, 2010 in books, reviews

 

Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Review: The Starlet by Mary McNamara

  1. nanscorner

    June 20, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Don’t you just love it when you pack just the right vacation read! Glad you enjoyed the book. 🙂

     
  2. diaryofaneccentric

    June 20, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Glad to see you liked it. Hope you had a wonderful time on vacation.

     
  3. Marce

    June 20, 2010 at 10:33 am

    It is wonderful when you are on vacation and have the perfect read to go with it.

     
  4. Colleen (Books in the City)

    June 27, 2010 at 4:27 am

    I am reading this one now and having a bit of a problem getting into it but I am glad to see from your review that it is going to get better!

     

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