Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures Review

I love old movies. I could watch black and white films all day. Give me Cary Grant in a tux over even Ryan Gosling any day. I love movies in general, but there's nothing like old movies. There might not be amazing special effects but the stories and acting are fantastic, even when they are the sillier screwball comedies like Bringing up Baby or My Man Godfrey. So of course I thought this book was going to be awesome. The plot description was about Elsa Emerson, a young girl from Wisconsin in the 1920's who leaves home to pursue a career in Hollywood.

Despite her marriage to a fellow actor, Gordon Pitts, Elsa is charmed by Irving Green, one of the owners of Gardner Brothers Studio. He suggests that she change her name to Laura Lamont (although I think Elsa Emerson was just as nicely alliterative; Elsa Pitts not so much) and dye her hair dark. After the birth of her second daughter, Elsa - now Laura - starts acting more seriously in movies. Irving helps her move into serious films, which garners her an oscar. She also falls in love with Irving and after leaving her husband, marries him and moves her two daughters into his home. The book spans many years, from Laura's first arrival in Hollywood to what she does in her sixties. Her career has ups and downs, as does her family life.

So here was my issue. The novel was called Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures but really, there were not a lot of actual movies in the book. I was expecting much more detail about the movies themselves and maybe appearances from some actual stars who would have been  Laura's contemporaries. There was literally only a handful of actual film experiences mentioned. The majority of the plot was about Laura's family and how she struggles to maintain a family and her career. It wasn't that different from a classic family drama. A few reviewers on amazon called the book boring. I didn't think it was boring. It was a solid story, but it wasn't what I was expecting and that was a bit disappointing. Overall, it was a solid book but not amazing.

Entertainment Weekly Review

Buy it at amazon and Barnes & Noble

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