Saturday, July 3, 2010

Review: The Starlet by Mary McNamara

The Starlet: A NovelFrom Amazon: The Starlet: A Novel It’s a not-so-well-respected rule in Hollywood that what happens on location stays on location. But when a hot young leading man winds up dead in his Rome hotel room, his costar’s life is about to go off the rails in a very public way—even by celeb standards.
At the tender age of twenty-three, Mercy Talbot has won an Oscar, battled addiction, wrecked more than her share of cars, and burned down her house. Her look-alike mother keeps her on a tight leash (and fueled with an endless supply of OxyContin and cocaine) and her producers demand a grueling schedule. By the time she stumbles across Juliette Greyson, a Hollywood insider on a much-needed vacation, Mercy is surrounded by photographers and about to emerge drunk, high, and naked from a public fountain. Whisking her away to an idyllic Tuscan ‘retreat,’ Juliette is about to discover another rule of Hollywood: wherever the starlet may go, the drama will follow.

My Thoughts
I felt as I read this book that I was reading about the latest exploits of the "it" Hollywood star who found fame too young without any parental grounding.  The story certainly had a ripped from the headlines nature to it.  Mercy Talbot is tremendously talented but troubled by drugs and a mother who sees Mercy as her meal ticket and controls her and her career.  Everyone is trying to save her from herself and from her mother's questionable decisions. 

The commentary offered in the book on Hollywood life and the making of movie was interesting:

 . . . Juliette wondered if any movie ever got made without one form of insanity or another occurring off camera.  Location work was particularly fraught.  Away from family, familiarity and what little media-enforced moral order there was in Hollywood, the cast and crew lived in their own little bioshpere for weeks, sometimes months, simmering in a creative rue of lust and jealousy, artistry and boredom. 
 There were parts of the book that were insightful (like the quote above) but that was inconsistent and on the whole I found I didn't care that much about most of the characters and their exploits.  The one character whose storyline I liked the most was Juliette Greyson.  The author's previous novel Oscar Season focuses on Juliette so that may be a better fit for me.  The Starlet does have a bit of mystery thrown in and there are some twists in the latter 1/3rd of the book so if you are a chick lit fan who also likes mystery this may be the book for you!


  1. Haha, that's funny that you just posted this because I'm working on my review for this right now. I feel the same as you, though... it sort of fell flat for me.

  2. Jenny - glad I am not the only one! I was hoping it would be much better!

  3. Sorry it didn't quite work for you. I read it by the pool on vacation in LA, and really enjoyed it.

  4. Sounds like a good time- I'd probably like this as a beach read :)

  5. Maybe that's what I liked about it - I too read it while sitting by the water and just flew through it. I thought of it as a light-hearted, easy read - of which I don't generally get a lot of, kind of like brain candy. But it is always interesting to see what other people think, especially if it's of an opinion different from my own - makes the commentary that much more interesting! Great review by the way!!!