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The Hollywood Daughter: A Novel by Kate…
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The Hollywood Daughter: A Novel

by Kate Alcott

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The celebrity of Ingrid Bergman looms large in this novel about the daughter of Ingrid's imagined studio publicist. Growing up in the shadow of Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s, Jesse looked up to Ingrid Bergman as her hero - an image which was shattered when Ingrid had a child out of wedlock in 1950, a scandal Jesse had difficulty coming to terms with, especially considering the strict Catholic faith she was raised in. A fun read with plenty of Hollywood glamour and references to classic movies, even if the shadow of McCathyism and religious conflict hangs over much of the book. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jun 23, 2017 |
The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott is a 2017 Doubleday publication.

Alcott captures the glamour and awe of Hollywood amid the tensions and fears of McCarthyism and the scandal that sent shockwaves throughout the industry, but is also an intimate look at family, the cracks in the veneer, the loyalty, the secrets, and the importance of learning priorities, relinquishing false illusions, and learning to forgive, not only others, but yourself.

This story may have gotten off to a slow start, but by the half way mark, I was completely immersed in the drama surrounding the paranoia of McCarthyism and Ingrid Bergman’s shocking affair that made her a cast out for nine long years, but equally compelled by Jessica’s family dynamic and personal experiences at her Catholic school, and her relationship with her parents, especially with her mother.

Jessica’s father is Ingrid’s publicist, and Jessica is absolutely devoted to Ingrid. Her reverence for Ingrid is so deeply rooted she remains devoutly loyal to her through the scandal and her exile, which came at a very high personal cost to Jessica and her family.

The author did an incredible job of bringing Ingrid Bergman to life, of creating the anxiety and toll the Hollywood witch hunt took on the industry, how it hurt people, and the fall out of Bergman’s
adulterous affair, as seen through the eyes of young Jessica during her teenage years.

The story delves into Jessica’s personal life, as she struggles through the angst of growing up, dealing with her mother’s periods of depression and her parent’s marital woes. Her personal journey is tied in with Bergman’s life in so many ways, as it is with her father’s career, which causes her to make, then regret, personal and very controversial decisions, that will follow her into adulthood, haunting her to the point where she finally reaches an emotional precipice of adulthood.

I have always loved novels centered around the ‘golden age’ of Hollywood, because let’s be honest, that level of glamour, writing, and acting has never quite reached that pinnacle in any era since then. I was not familiar with the big Bergman scandal until, while watching ‘Casablanca’ with my parents, they related the story of how she became a pariah in the United States, with her scandalous affair, reaching all the way to the Senate floor, where she was lambasted as ‘powerful influence of evil’.

But, the story is much more than a coming of age tale, and touches on more than a young girl’s fantasy surrounding her favorite actress. It was also about judgmental hypocrisy, the drive to censor the arts, the conflicts Jessica faces about her church and religion, especially after the harsh and swift retribution passed in Hollywood, on Bergman, and her own family.

But, I think it also speaks to the incredible and unrealistic pressure we place on celebrities, by placing them on a pedestal to be worshiped, insisting they live up to our idealized image of them, when the truth is, they are people, just like you and me. When they fall, make a blunder, like an ill -advised tweet, for example, we will crucify them today, just as Bergman was judged and shamed back in 1949/50.

But, in the end, Jessica's struggle to understand her mother, fighting her own personal inability to forgive herself,unable to move forward without relinquishing her idealist hero worship of Ingrid Bergman, is at the heart of the story.

In the end, Jessica will mature enough to see which realtionships are the most important, will find understanding, and move on into adulthood, stronger and more at ease with herself.

I enjoyed Jessica’s journey, her voice was real, honest, and heartfelt, and realistic and really struck a chord with me.

I would like to say we’ve moved forward, upwards and onwards from those days, but we still fall into those same traps, and are ever in danger of seeing history repeat itself, but one thing we will probably never experience again in the same way, is the Golden Years of Hollywood. ( )
  gpangel | Jun 12, 2017 |
I would like to thank NetGalley and Doubleday Books for the ARC of "The Hollywood Daughter" by Kate Alcott.
The genres for this novel are historical fiction and women's fiction.
The author introduces the Malloy family. Jessica is a child when we first meet her, and her idol is actress Ingrid Bergman. Jessica has seen and met with the actress. Jessica's Dad is in Public Relations at a Hollywood studio representing Ingrid Bergman. Jessica is familiar with many of the Hollywood actors and actresses. Jessica's mother is a devout Catholic and feels that going to Church is very important, and sends Jessica to Catholic school. Mr. and Mrs. Malloy are complicated and conflicted parents.

Jessica's father arranges for Ingrid Bergman and cast to film one of her pictures at St. Annes, where Jessica attends school. Ingrid Bergman's visit is one of the school's highlights.
Kate Alcott discusses that McCarthyism and the threat of Communism causes problems in the Hollywood and acting community. Jessica is older and is aware that the church frowns on sin and movies that are "sinful". She is aware that there is tension at home.
Around this timeline, Ingrid Bergman has an affair with Robert Rossellini, while she is still married. Mr. Malloy takes Jessica to Europe to try to get Ingrid Bergman to return to America. Ingrid Bergman is pregnant and doesn't return.
This is problematic for the Malloy family. There is pressure from the church to renounce Ingrid Bergman and
her movies. The school takes the plague of recognition of the actress down, and anyone associated with Ingrid Bergman is looked on with disrespect. The actress doesn't do any movies in America or come to America for years.
This is a turning point in Jessica's life. Her hero is disgraced and Jessica questions the Churches decision, as well as the government that is condemning people who are called Communists. She also questions her parent's beliefs.
Jessica leaves her faith in religion behind as she goes to College. After graduating, Jessica is writing for a Magazine in New York. Circumstances occur where Jessica has the opportunity to go back to Hollywood and Los Angeles to visit.
This visit causes conflicted Jessica to revisit her feelings about faith and herself. I find that the author describes
many of the conflicts of self-discovery, self-worth, high ideals, friendship, family, forgiveness,love, growth and hope.
I enjoyed reading about Hollywood and the famous actors and actresses, and would recommend this book. I liked the colorful way that Kate Alcott describes Hollywood .I also found this time in history intriguing and this brings many thoughts and questions to mind. ( )
  teachlz | Mar 3, 2017 |
Growing up in Hollywood, the daughter of a PR man whose biggest client is Ingrid Bergman, Jesse Malloy gets an inside look at the making and breaking of a movie icon. She becomes smitten by Bergman, and watches her father climb up the corporate ladder as Ingrid Bergman rises in Tinseltown. At the same time, Jesse has to struggle with another side of her life, that of the religious upbringing that her mother is foisting upon her through making her go to a Catholic girls' school. Jesse finds herself torn between her parents' differing views of Hollywood and the church, and struggles to find her place within and between both the secular society that is all glitter and accolades on the one hand, and the Catholic church that is very spiritual but simultaneously repressive, on the other.
The story of Jesse's coming-of-age tale really has two parts: first there is the tale-within-a-tale of her formative years, where she struggles to find her voice, literally and figuratively, within the strictures of a religious order that disapproves of the world of the movies. The second part of Jesse's growth occurs 10 years later, when she returns to Hollywood after a long time away, having, she believes, buried her ghosts for good. What she finds out about herself, her parents, and her movie idol on this trip back home forms the substance of the second growing up she has to do.
The author portrays quite movingly and convincingly the often confusing experiences of childhood, and the growth out of it that requires the maturing mind to comprehend aspects of the political world, the media, and popular culture that often clash and collide. Jesse's living in both the worlds of the Hollywood elite and the Catholic church provides her with conflicting ideologies and experiences that she struggles to synthesize.
I liked the way the author did not provide any easy solutions, nor any clear winners or losers in the battles portrayed here. There were few villains on either side, and main and supporting characters are fleshed out with both positive and negative elements. More monolithic, however, were the institutions portrayed, specifically the Big Bad Church and the Big Bad Government, about whose overreaches the author clearly cannot say enough. On the small scale, however, and through Jesse’s eyes and in her world, her acquaintances are more finely wrought with their own conflicts and multiple facets. ( )
  ChayaLovesToRead | Feb 28, 2017 |
Growing up in Hollywood, the daughter of a PR man whose biggest client is Ingrid Bergman, Jesse Malloy gets an inside look at the making and breaking of a movie icon. She becomes smitten by Bergman, and watches her father climb up the corporate ladder as Ingrid Bergman rises in Tinseltown. At the same time, Jesse has to struggle with another side of her life, that of the religious upbringing that her mother is foisting upon her through making her go to a Catholic girls' school. Jesse finds herself torn between her parents' differing views of Hollywood and the church, and struggles to find her place within and between both the secular society that is all glitter and accolades on the one hand, and the Catholic church that is very spiritual but simultaneously repressive, on the other.
The story of Jesse's coming-of-age tale really has two parts: first there is the tale-within-a-tale of her formative years, where she struggles to find her voice, literally and figuratively, within the strictures of a religious order that disapproves of the world of the movies. The second part of Jesse's growth occurs 10 years later, when she returns to Hollywood after a long time away, having, she believes, buried her ghosts for good. What she finds out about herself, her parents, and her movie idol on this trip back home forms the substance of the second growing up she has to do.
The author portrays quite movingly and convincingly the often confusing experiences of childhood, and the growth out of it that requires the maturing mind to comprehend aspects of the political world, the media, and popular culture that often clash and collide. Jesse's living in both the worlds of the Hollywood elite and the Catholic church provides her with conflicting ideologies and experiences that she struggles to synthesize.
I liked the way the author did not provide any easy solutions, nor any clear winners or losers in the battles portrayed here. There were few villains on either side, and main and supporting characters are fleshed out with both positive and negative elements. More monolithic, however, were the institutions portrayed, specifically the Big Bad Church and the Big Bad Government, about whose overreaches the author clearly cannot say enough. On the small scale, however, and through Jesse’s eyes and in her world, her acquaintances are more finely wrought with their own conflicts and multiple facets.
  ChayaLovesToRead | Feb 15, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385540639, Hardcover)

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and A Touch of Stardust, comes a Hollywood coming-of-age novel, in which Ingrid Bergman's affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest fan to reconsider everything she was raised to believe

In 1950, Ingrid Bergman—already a major star after movies like Casablanca and Joan of Arc—has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman's fall shocked her legions of American fans.
    Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick Studio. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short.
    In a heated era of McCarthyism and extreme censorship, Ingrid's affair sets off an international scandal that robs seventeen-year-old Jesse of her childhood hero. When the stress placed on Jesse's father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse's eyes are opened to the complex realities of life—and love.
     Beautifully written and deeply moving, The Hollywood Daughter is an intimate novel of self-discovery that evokes a Hollywood sparkling with glamour and vivid drama.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 10 Oct 2016 05:04:15 -0400)

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