Once again, I know I’m late to the party, but I’ve only just read this. I found this battered copy from 1970 in my favourite charity shop (it’s awesome for books) for only £1. I started it on the Thursday, only snatching the odd 5 mins or so as I’m really busy at the moment. But on Sunday I decided to give myself the day off and I finished it by 5pm.
I had no idea what it was about, only that I knew it was a cult classic and after reading it, I understood why. It follows the lives of 3 women: Anne Welles, a New England beauty newly arrived in New York; Neely O’Hara a star in the making and Jennifer North, a stunning beauty. When reading it you recognise various real life celebrities that have obviously influenced the characters (Judy Garland, Ethel Merman, JFK, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe to name a few).
It’s well written and moves along at a hectic pace, immediately drawing you in. However I don’t have total praise. I loathed the dregotaory language and attitude directed towards gay men in the industry. It was upsetting, unsettling and jarring. I hear the phrase “it was a different age back then” and it’s never more apparent when reading books written at the time. This written in the 60s and set in the 40s onwards, the attitudes to the LGBT community are never more obvious.
That aside (and it was very difficult to put it aside, even though it happened in “throw away” sentences, it didn’t make it any less upsetting) this is a gripping book and given the time it was written, you can understand the controversy it created. If you keep that in mind, some of it is very shocking. Well worth a read but please be forewarned about the derogatory language when describing the LGBT community.
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