Saturday, April 13, 2013

G92 Book Review of Startruck by Rachel Shukert

Name of Book: Starstruck

Author: Rachel Shukert

ISBN: 978-0-385-74108-8

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Type of book: 1938, Hollywood, glamor, glitz, dark side, hidden secrets, past, mystery, star, survival

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

A golden age of glam . . .

Every week they arrive in Los Angeles--beautiful and talented young hopefuls who dream of becoming stars. It's all Margaret Frobisher has ever wanted—and when she's discovered by a powerful agent, she can barely believe her luck. She's more than ready to escape her snobby private school and conservative Pasadena family for a chance to light up the silver screen.

The competition is fierce at Olympus Studios and Margaret—now Margo—is chasing her Hollywood dreams alongside girls like Gabby Preston, who at 16 is already a grizzled show-biz veteran caught between the studio and the ravenous ambition of her ruthless mother, and sultry Amanda Farraday, who seems to have it all--ambition, glamour . . . and dirty secrets. Missing from the pack is Diana Chesterfield, the beautiful actress who mysteriously disappeared, and there are whispers that Diana's boyfriend—Margo's new co-star—may have had something to do with it. Margo quickly learns that fame comes with a price, and that nothing is what it seems.

Set in Old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.

Characters:

This is a story primarily from three girls' points of views; that of Gabby, Margo and Amanda. Probably 95 percent of the story focused on Margo and her rise to fame, while perhaps the rest of it focused on Amanda, Gabby and a few other minor characters. I also hoped that the chapters would kind of alternate with points of views, but that didn't happen, although there was a good space for when points of views were switched. Margo was the center stage, and I kind of found myself resenting her a little bit. I would have liked to know and learn more about Amanda and Gabby.

Theme:

Being a movie star is not as glamorous as it seems

Plot:

The whole story itself read almost like a movie, from the time Margo was discovered to the ending, but I also would have liked a few more in-between chapters between Chapter 29 and 30, for it was abrupt and certain things haven't things been answered, although the mystery and so forth have been well answered. What I liked with the whole glamor and movie feel is how she includes the less savory aspects into this type of story through Amanda's background, and through Gabby's ambitions and struggles. I was surprised to learn that Hollywood controls actresses and actors this way, that everything is preplanned and not left up to chance.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born
Omaha, Nebraska, The United States

gender
female

website
http://www.rachelshukert.com

genre
Biographies & Memoirs, Humor, Travel

influences
Philip Roth, P.G. Wodehouse, Morrissey, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Arthur...more

member since
June 2008


About this author

Rachel Shukert is the author the the critically acclaimed memoirs Everything Is Going To Be Great and Have You No Shame? Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Salon, McSweeney's, Slate, Gawker, the Daily Beast, Heeb, and Nerve, and been featured on National Public RAdio. She has also contributed to a variety of anthologies, including Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists and Best American Erotic Poetry: 1800 to the Present.

Rachel is also a contributing editor at Tablet Magazine, and an alumnus of Ars Nova's illustrious Play Group. She received a BFA from Tisch School of the Arts, and now lives in New York City with her husband Ben and her bipolar cat, Anjelica Huston.

Opinion:

When I got the book, I expected to read something sickeningly-sweet. I thought it would be too happy ending and it would remind me of things I would roll my eyes at. I was honestly surprised that I liked it a lot. This is very cleverly written, and despite the glitz and glamour and eye rolling that I thought the cover and story would induce in me, I was impressed by her research and story as well as fascinating facts. Some I knew due to a course I took in college, (Holocaust in Media Representation, ironically) and others I didn't know, such as the made up biographies of the stars, or the whole made up romances between the stars. I was never fascinated by Hollywood nor do I really care for the actors and actresses and the stars. The book itself could be a fascinating movie of Hollywood in the 1930s for the modern audience. The author also includes the less glam expects of Hollywood, such as pills, weight obsession (didn't know it was a big deal even in 1930s!), backstabbing, and so forth. I was a little shocked by the appearance of scotch and whisky and cigarettes in a book (I don't recall that these things made their presence during books when I was a child,) and few things I disliked was that a girl with my hair color was the villain, and I think I would have liked to see some Jewish women in the book.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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