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Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

by Emma Straub

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3684062,417 (3.21)21
Fleeing her family home in Wisconsin in the wake of a tragedy that compels her to pursue her acting career in golden-age Hollywood, Elsa enjoys the heady extravagances of her fame while struggling to remain true to herself and balance the needs of her family.

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
An excellent and endearing examination of "old" Hollywood, one woman's life, and the family she loves. ( )
  mbellucci | Apr 10, 2021 |
Slight, disappointing, vapid and uninteresting protagonist. ( )
  naoph | Jan 1, 2021 |
Digital audiobook narrated by Molly Ringwold

From the book jacket: An enchanting debut novel about a small-town midwestern girl who finds fame as a sensational movie star during Holllywood’s golden age, this work is also a story of family, ambition, and sacrifice.

My reactions
I get a certain little kick out of reading a book set in my backyard, and this one begins in idyllic Door County Wisconsin. Add a family tradition of theatre – Elsa, is the youngest of three daughters born to the owner/operators of the Cherry County Playhouse – and the romance of Hollywood’s golden age, and I was captured by the book jacket’s promise.

I wasn’t expecting great literature, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a rags-to-riches, poor-girl-marries-powerful-executive, money-can’t-buy-happiness story that would have easily been produced by the studio-system of Hollywood in the 1930s and ‘40s. Other than Elsa/Laura, I thought the characters lacked development. Still, it was a quick read and although I found the plot somewhat predictable, I was content to go along for the ride.

Molly Ringwold does a find job narrating the audiobook. She has good pacing, and she’s sufficiently accomplished as an actress to breath life into the characters. ( )
  BookConcierge | Mar 11, 2018 |
I've had this book sitting on my shelves TBR for a while, and it seemed like a good one to read after The Girls in the Picture.  It starts at a later time, past the silent movie era, in 1929, when Elsa Emerson is nine years old and growing up in Door County, Wisconsin, where her father operates a summer playhouse on the family's land.  She loves acting and decides to head out to Los Angeles to become a movie star, eventually being christened Laura Lamont by the producer who ultimately marries her.  Laura does become a star, but she also struggles with the traditional roles of women at the time (particularly motherhood) as well as with her family of origin.  Straub covers the 50 years from 1929 to 1980 in just over 300 pages.

Emma Straub modeled the early life of Elsa / Laura on real-life actress Jennifer Jones. Other characters in the book seemed to be based on other real Hollywood figures. For example, Irving Greene is based on Irving Thalberg, and his partner Louis Gardner on Louis B. Mayer.  Ginger appears to be modeled on Lucille Ball.

While it's not deep, I actually liked this book, because Laura / Elsa feels like a real person and *not* a star.

© Amanda Pape - 2018

[This advance reader edition was sent to me by the Book Report Network.  It will be passed on to someone else to enjoy.] ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Feb 21, 2018 |
I debated whether to go to the third star on this one and just couldn't do it. There is a lot of flash and no dash in this book except for the accelerated dashing forward between decades. I really disliked the main character in this book; she sat by and passively let her life happen to her and then whined and lamented about how it had turned out. There is a piece of dialogue at the end of this book wherein the main character talks about how she has "chosen" the circumstances of her life. What?! Apparently I missed her assertiveness in the 300 pages prior to that quote. This book is not necessarily bad it is just is not really that good and definitely not worth all the hype. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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Fleeing her family home in Wisconsin in the wake of a tragedy that compels her to pursue her acting career in golden-age Hollywood, Elsa enjoys the heady extravagances of her fame while struggling to remain true to herself and balance the needs of her family.

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Average: (3.21)
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2 18
2.5 3
3 39
3.5 10
4 30
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