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Best to Laugh by Lorna Landvik
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Best to Laugh

by Lorna Landvik

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Showing 5 of 5
Somewhat amusing, the straightforward story of young Candy Pekkala's going to Hollywood, making friends at Petyon Hall apartments and at her temp job and gaining successes as a stand up comedian. Not screamingly funny. Candy and most of the rest of the characters are so nice and there is just enough diversity - Candy is half-Korean, but lost her mother early - and there is a black lesbian is about it - that it doesn't qualify as a white wash, but other than using the scarcity of women comics as a punch line, nothing is gone into. It reads like a set up for a series of wacky Hollywood 20 somethings in the late 70s early 80s, but not one I'd watch. ( )
  quondame | Aug 20, 2018 |
Good book, great characters. ( )
  cherybear | Jul 7, 2015 |
Loved the book, kept me going until the end. Her books are always entertaining. Nice to read a book about my own generation for a change. ( )
  lhaines56 | Nov 29, 2014 |
I had high hopes for this book - the author is from Minnesota (like me) and the blurbs on the back cover said it was "laugh out loud" funny. NOT. I read to page 156 and then decided it was a waste of my time and quit. The author is supposedly a stand-up comedienne and this book is supposedly based on her life in Hollywood - it's filled with "quirky" characters. I hate quirky characters, and I didn't like this book. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Nov 12, 2014 |
I’ve read and enjoyed several of Lorna Landvik’s novels so couldn’t resist sampling this offering. Partly based on Landvik’s own early years in Hollywood, Best To Laugh is a funny yet poignant coming of age story set in the 1970’s.

Candy Pekkala is a half Korean, half Nordic, American born twenty two year old who trades Minnesota for California with a half formed idea of becoming a comedienne. She sublets an apartment from her cousin in the once famous Peyton Hall, right in the heart of Hollywood, bordered by Sunset, Santa Monica and Hollywood Boulevards and takes up a series of temp jobs while she tentatively hones her act in local comedy venues.

Candy’s quirky neighbours play a large role in the novel. There is the body building daughter of a television star, a retired animator, a Romanian fortune teller, a substitute teacher who supplements his earnings with game show wins, an elderly man who once owned the most popular nightclub in town, his son, a punk rock singer, and an assortment of actors, actresses and executives waiting for their big break. Orphaned at a fairly young age and raised largely by her grandmother, Candy creates an extended family among the residents of Peyton Hall who give her the confidence and support she needs to pursue her dreams.

There isn’t a lot of story to Best to Laugh but it is an engaging read with plenty of humour and a touch of wistfulness. Landvik acknowledges that the novel is a homage to the people and places that launched her career and as such it has a rosy glow of warmth and nostalgia. I enjoyed it. ( )
  shelleyraec | Sep 19, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0816694532, Hardcover)


No one steps up to life’s banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, “Grief, please!” But as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. Every buffet line has a dessert section, however, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems as though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It’s good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. With that, the irrepressible Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage—or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start.


Herself a comic performer, Landvik taps her own adventurous past and Minnesota roots to conjure Candy’s life in this strange new Technicolor home. Her fellow tenants at Peyton Hall include a female bodybuilder, a ruined nightclub impresario, and a well-connected old Romanian fortune-teller. There are game show appearances and temp jobs at a record company and an establishment suspiciously like the Playboy Mansion, and of course the alluring but not always welcoming stage of stand-up comedy. As she hones her act, Candy is tested by humiliation, hecklers, and the inherent sexism that insists “chicks aren’t funny.”


Written with the light touch and quiet wisdom that have made her works so popular, this is classic Lorna Landvik—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

"No one steps up to life's banquet, holds out her tray, and orders, "Grief, please!" Yet as a child, Candy Pekkala was served a heaping helping of it. But every buffet line has a dessert section, and when a cousin calls with a Hollywood apartment to sublet, it seems though Candy is finally offered something sweet. It's good-bye to Minnesota and hello to California, where a girl who has always lived by her wits has a real chance of making a living with them. And with that, Lorna Landvik launches her latest irresistible character onto the world stage--or at least onto the dimly lit small stage where stand-up comedy gets its start"--Inside Cover.… (more)

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