The Starlet

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Title: The Starlet
Author: Mary McNamara
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 8, 2010

The Starlet was a somewhat intriguing, but ultimately lackluster, novel about the scandalous "Hollywood" life. It started out with a promising premise when Juliette Greyson, on vacation in Italy, suddenly sees a young woman climbing to the top of a fountain and preparing to jump while a crowd of paparazzi gather around encouraging her. She quickly realizes this woman is world-famous actress, Mercy Talbot. Everyone knows this actress not only for her absolutely fantastic acting skills, but possibly more for her drug addictions and dysfunctional life.

Juliette is all too familiar with these types, as she works at The Pinnacle in Los Angeles, the hotel where all the famous flock to. After quickly questioning herself, she rescues Mercy by taking her to the Italian estate she owns with her cousin, Gabe. Before they know it, Gabe's and Juliette's peaceful retreat in the Italian countryside has been turned into a manic site of mayhem as the film Mercy was in Italy to shoot in the first place is moved to their location.

The fun parts of this book were the cast of characters, many whom represent the humorous stereotypes of Hollywood; Mercy's mother, Angie, cares for nothing but manipulating her daughter to make her more money; Steve Usher runs a drug rehabilitation center for the rich and famous, and he follows the star around to try and ensure she's not using; Michael O'Connor plays the arrogant leading man who has had too many women to count but may or may not be interested in a relationship with Juliette; and there are more! I enjoyed the characters overall, and found the thought of the setting to be peaceful... how fun to imagine being at a movie shoot in the Italian countryside.

But then the potentially engaging subplots sort of fizzled out and, despite a couple happenings here or there, I felt there wasn't much more to the story. While the first half of the book was an entertaining behind-the-scenes peek at the movie industry, and while the writing style was engaging, I eventually lost interest in the characters and the story. I needed something more to connect to and anticipate from the beginning throughout the rest of the book, rather than a bit here and a bit there. I kept expecting certain subplots to dominate a little more and was disappointed when they didn't. I think some might enjoy the book more than I did, though, based on the positive aspects I mentioned, so don't necessarily count this one out!

FTC Disclosure: By posting this review I have been entered into a contest by Regal Literary. However, this review is my honest opinion, and the contest rules specify that the review can be negative or positive.


Booksnyc said...

As you know, I wasn't thrilled with this one either - it had a lot of potential (as you said "happenings here and there") but it never came together for me. Oh well . . .

Connie said...

It sounds like this book had some interesting ideas, just failed a little in the execution. Alas! I love the cover, though. :)

Good luck in the competition! I hope you win.

Jenny said...

Colleen -- Yeah, looks we thought the same about it. It had potential and wasn't awful, just wasn't that great for me!

Connie -- I love the cover too! And thanks for the luck... it would mean another trip to NYC!! ;)

Trisha said...

Too bad! I hope you win though.

Aarti said...

Oh, that's too bad! Sometimes books that skewer a certain set can be very successful, but often they are not. Have you read Snobs by Julian Fellowes? It's about the British upper class and I found it really good.

Zibilee said...

I hate it when a book starts off strong and then goes downhill in the second half. It's so annoying! But I do still like the premise of this book and think that it might make an interesting read. I might see if I can get it from the library instead of buying it though. Thanks for the honest review!

Jennifer said...

Well that plot certainly sounds interesting. And the setting sounds absolutely wonderful. But I can see how a book like this might just fall apart a little at the end. Still, I feel like it's probably fun to read.

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