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The Comeback

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Grace Turner was one movie away from Hollywood's A-List. So no one understood why, at the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, she disappeared.

Now, one year later, Grace is back in Los Angeles and ready to reclaim her life on her own terms.

When Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke--the man who controlled her every move for eight years--she knows there's only one way she'll be free of the secret that's already taken so much from her.

The Comeback is a moving and provocative story of justice--a true page-turner about a young woman finding the strength and power of her voice.

378 pages, Hardcover

First published August 3, 2020

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About the author

Ella Berman

2 books422 followers
Ella Berman grew up in both London and Los Angeles and worked at Sony Music before starting the clothing brand London Loves LA. She lives in London with her husband, James, and their dog, Rocky. The Comeback is her first novel, coming August 11, 2020.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,506 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,944 reviews292k followers
August 3, 2020
I was untouchable, unstoppable, hurtling down a path to immortality so rapidly, so immaculately, that not one person stopped to question how it all worked so well, a fortysomething man and a teenager being so inextricably linked.

This book is painful, raw and brilliant. It's a perfect fictional companion to the reporting done by Ronan Farrow and Kantor & Twohey on the Weinstein/Hollywood sexual harassment, though Berman actually started her novel months before that story broke.

The Comeback is one of those deeply psychological books that gets right under your skin. I don't know about the author's personal experiences, but it certainly feels very honest. I felt completely immersed in Grace's story and desperate to know what would happen to her. In fact, this might be the most emotionally-attached I've felt to a narrative this whole year.
I'd like to say I didn't understand what I was agreeing to, but I think it would be a lie-- even back then I knew I was giving a part of myself away.

Grace Turner is a teen actress plucked from obscurity, a rising star taken under the wing of a charming and powerful film director. What made this book especially interesting for me is that Grace isn't easy to like. She's been groomed by a team of people whose very job it is to make her the centre of attention, to make the world revolve around her, and she has internalized that. She obsesses over her image and what people think about her. She forgets to ask others how they're doing. She alienates family and friends. She's been so coddled that she doesn't even know how to successfully crack an egg.

And, because of this, because she has been raised as a "celebrity" and not a person, she is alone. So helplessly painfully alone. Even the relationships she sort of maintains struggle to survive. Behind it all, too, there is a secret she has no one to tell. Of a manipulative man who has controlled every aspect of her life, stolen her adolescence and made her needy and dependent, isolated her from the people who used to care.

Every page of this book buried into my gut. I felt Grace's pain. I felt such intense frustration at what people are allowed to get away with. The Comeback forces us to admit that sometimes the one with the charming smile and lots of friends is the monster, and the one who seems selfish and sheltered is the victim. We've seen this in real life action. Weinstein had so many friends, donated to all the right causes-- people loved that guy.

I want to add, though, that while this book goes to some dark and depressing places, it is not a dreary and hopeless book. It is not called The Comeback for nothing. We just have to fall to the worst kind of lows with Grace in order to find the comeback so wholly satisfying.

Please be aware that this story contains on-page sexual assault and substance abuse. Quotes were taken from an uncorrected advance copy.

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,133 reviews39.3k followers
June 3, 2021
As soon as you grab this book, you think this is just about #Metoo movement and cursing more to the guy leaned on a walker throughout trails, dropping his Crocodile tears. But this book is beyond sexual allegations, psychical and mental tortures women have been enduring to take a leading role in LaLa land.

This is amazing, realistic portrait of a childhood artist facing with the realities of the biggest industry of the world, learning how to survive without getting any emotional support of her loved ones, forming fake, artificial relationships, put herself on her a spiral, loses in a dangerous rabbit hole of alcohol, drugs, self-destruction.

This is Grace’s heart wrenching and thought-provoking story: a child star became famous almost overnight. You think it lasted in fifteen minutes as Andy Warhol said but unfortunately she didn’t get away so easy. She was manipulated by the man she worked for and suffered from his hot-cold manners, instable emotional turmoil. The man forced her to work on the stunts she never wanted to but she did it anyways to get his approval. After her sister’s born, she already lost her own parents’ interest and now she was swimming in the ocean full of sharks and she needed a life buoy to hold on to for surviving, but she chose the wrong guy to trust.

Yes, the guy’s name is Able in his forties, married with children, playing mind games with Grace and Grace turned into mild Fatal Attraction kind of obsessive, stalking Abe’s wife and children, befriending them.

And of course at her 21, she is married with Dylan who is the only kind and decent character of the book (One of his kind and he is hard to be found in Hollywoodland.) Two young guys are still children but they tried so hard to act like adults and ruin everything with their relationship.

Grace gets lost and turns back to Anaheim to live with her parents (that’s where the book start and we go back and forth of her journey between past and present to know how she lost herself and struggling to find her place on this earth!) but as you may imagine, her self-absorbed mom and her dad didn’t welcome her with open hands or ask her what is happening to her. One year later they kick her out. And she turns back to Hollywood but she doesn’t know what she’s doing, how she’s going to cope!

I enjoyed intriguing writing, realistic approach of movie industry and struggles of young actress. This is amazing book how women fight for their way to land meaningful behind the camera gigs, how important for them to speak and raise their voices, support each other to get the praise they fully earned.

The characterization is satisfying, complex, layered. Pacing is good, keeping your interest intact.

The only thing I didn’t like the epilogue and vague ending. I was so ready to give five stars but that indecisive ending didn’t work so well for me! And I have to admit, I’m so surprised this is a debut novel but I’m also happy we have a brand new talented writer on the board . By the way she has great choices about eating places at Abbott Kinney. (Grace meets with her friends at my favorite cafes.)

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sending me this unique ARC and congratulations to Ella Berman for her writing journey and this amazing book.

Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
523 reviews620 followers
September 7, 2020
*** Happy Publication Day!!!! This book is a BOTM ** Also a Read with Jenna pick!!! I highly recommend this book!

I am going to start off this review with a bold statement for a bold book...this book struck me as a mix between My Dark Vanessa and Daisy Jones...there I said it. Now if you don't feel the same after reading this book, certainly don't blame me- that was just the vibe I got. Now that I got my disclaimer out of the way let's get on with this book that blew me away.

Grace Turner is missing from Hollywood. She can be found in her quiet hometown standing in a CVS buying her mom tampons and diet pills. One of Hollywood's biggest stars...she literally told nobody she was leaving- not her agent, her friends or her husband. Just slipped into the night and escaped her reality. Much as she had been doing for years- except with drugs and alcohol.

I don't know if I can express all of my feelings about this book without writing my own book. It just evokes so many feeling in the reader. This book captured how at 14 Grace discovered that she had a new power. The power that adults had to pay attention to her and found they were trying to please her and win her over. What 14 year old has that power? A child superstar, that is who. What an odd realization for a 14 year old. Also to be stripped away from your family and friends. Having nobody as a support except for the people in the industry, the people being paid to be your support system. Enter Able Yorke- famous director whom takes Grace under his wing- he made her, she is nothing without her. Or so she is made to think.

So I fully went into this expecting My Dark Vanessa all the way. Having read both excellent books, I do feel this one will appeal to a wider audience. The only thing these two novels have in common are about the subject matter- the abuse of power by a figure of authority over a young girl. The difference is...Grace knows she was a victim. Grace knows Able abused his power over her. Grace knows and she wants him to pay. Also unlike Vanessa this book doesn't go into the graphic details that Vanessa did. We know abuse took place but we are spared from living through every gut wrenching detail. So I feel the message came across and will appeal more to a larger audience because it is much easier to read. I never once felt uncomfortable reading this book, yet I got the message loud and clear.

I loved so much about this book..the short chapters were so easy to read. Grace was so darn real, I loved we got to see her in her hometown and her Hollywood self. When Grace gets a chance to make the world see Able for who he really is....I was anxiously waiting to see if she was brave enough...

This book is fantastic and I can't recommend it enough. The author didn't simply write on the current situation in Hollywood that has now been "outed" to the rest of the world. She had been writing this novel before that news hit the media. Upon reading her bio, I would say it is safe to say she has been witness to some of these "power moves" made by men in power since really the beginning of time. Yet, you don't have to be a Hollywood star to know this happens every single day...everywhere...in the world... A story of disgusting, vile, manipulative, abuse of power of a young girl. A young girl just trying to be successful in a big world.

Thank you so very much to Berkley for sending me this amazing book
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
781 reviews12.2k followers
October 14, 2020

The Comeback is a powerful and disturbing novel about a young actress who was manipulated, exploited, and the victim of sexual abuse starting at the age of fourteen. Now 22 years old, having run away from Hollywood for a year, she returns to confront the man who took away her power and face her demons head-on.

This is not an easy book to read. It’s a character study of a young woman trying to cope with not only all that has been done to her but also with what has been taken away from her. She was manipulated to the point where she felt like she could trust no-one, including her parents, her friends, her sister, and her husband.

Grace’s journey involves her coming to terms with her choices, her rocky marriage, and her relationship with her younger sister, Esme. She chose drugs, fake friends, and other self-destructive behavior to block out what she experienced. Having returned to the scene of her destruction, she now either must decide whether to keep her secret or expose her abuser.

As difficult as this was to read, I found Grace’s voice to be captivating. She is flawed, not always likable, and, oftentimes, self-absorbed and selfish, but at the same time, she is very real and honest. In Grace, Berman has created a complex and complicated character. The reader spends a lot of time in Grace’s head; I felt her pain, her struggles, and her emotions. Her journey is gradual, and it takes time, regression, and exploration before she is ready to fight for her voice. There are small moments of victory, and the ending culminates in the moment I was hoping for.

The Comeback is a compelling, nuanced, and thought-provoking read with a heroine who got under my skin in the best way--her character will keep me thinking for time to come.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,290 reviews120k followers
July 8, 2021
Maybe my mom was right about me when she said I wasn’t happy, but what she doesn’t understand is that since the age of fifteen, I’ve never even dared to want to be happy. I’m just trying to stay alive.
Take a London thirteen-year-old, transport her to the Hollywood dream machine, where she is made one of the stars of a wildly successful film series. Put pretty much all decisions about her life in the hands of a controlling, manipulative director. Separate her as much as possible from her family (who move to Anaheim to be nearby) and almost everyone else, for that matter, making her totally dependent on the director not just for her career, but her own sense of worth. And subject her to the predatory game of Survival Hollywood in which every star, particularly when young and pretty, is stalked by a relentless jackal mob of paparazzi, and preyed on by a plague of only everybody, in the business and not, with a phone and a desire to get a few more likes, the more mortifying the post, the better, and diverse low-lifes trying to find a way to take advantage of her youth and unworldliness. What could possibly go wrong?

Ella Berman - image from her Twitter pages

We meet Grace Hyde as she is driving a car off a cliff to her likely doom. Bonus points for taking out the evil-doer in the passenger seat. From this point we look back six weeks, to unravel the events leading up to this dire event, the present of the novel.

Fans know her as Grace Turner. Turned out she had actual acting talent, yielding eight years as a child/teen star. It is after she has begun her turn as a grownup actress, to the point of a Golden Globe nomination, that she crashes and burns. To be followed by rehab for alcoholism, and a year out of the spotlight, living with her parents in Anaheim. So, a second point from which we wonder backwards. What led Grace to her earlier, albeit less literal, cliff dive?

After her year of laying low, Grace is trying to restart her acting career, as long as it is not with Able Yorke, the director who had Svengali’d into her adolescence, and molded her life to his needs. It is from this present that Grace remembers back to her early days in the industry, and the events leading up to her rehab. Through it all is her relationship with her family, (not a pretty picture) and in the present, her intense relationship with her sister, Esme. Through it all is Grace’s attempt to cope with the fact that Yorke had used her not only to bolster his own professional credentials, but as someone he could dominate and abuse, emotionally and otherwise. Through it all, she is struggling to define herself for herself, while staving off the worst of her self doubt and self recriminations with whatever works.

Grace’s mission is about finding within herself the strength to take power over her life after having had none so far, at least as far as she thought. She endured so much gaslighting as a child actress that she should have had a PG&E meter installed in her brain. It’s tough to get your bearings when people who matter to you have been telling you up is down and east is west for years, particularly when you are dependent on them for your livelihood. Able did quite nicely with the series, the core of his oeuvre, and is (in the present of the story) about to receive a prestigious lifetime achievement award. Surprisingly, given her recent hiatus, Grace has been asked to present it to him. It makes her ill even to think about it.

Building back her career is no simple task, with spoiled personal and work relationships to repair, and a reputation, deserved or not, as a difficult on-set persona to overcome. She faces the celebrity challenge of trying to re-build while, to the public, she is click-bait on feet, again, always having to look out for the next person trying to take her picture, video an embarrassing moment, or tape record her saying anything at all. She is a young woman in a glass bowl, with no way out.

A reporter from Variety pops by, working on a #MeToo story about Able, wants Grace’s input. Grace keeps putting her off. Her sister, Esme, who has sought help from Grace with a problem of her own, wants Grace to nuke Able at the award show, presenting the audience and him with something more than just his lifetime achievement award. But if she does, there is a very real possibility that her career may get nuked along with her abuser. She would always be identified as a “victim.” And then there is Emilia, Able’s wife, who has been so nice to her, trying to help her get back on her feet. How painful would this be for her and her children?

Berman brings in a supporting crew that helps cast some back, fill, and key light on Grace’s life and challenges. Her ex is certainly far too good to be true ( Cut Dylan open and he will bleed America, and maybe some puppies), but is a lovely presence on the page. Her assistant, and maybe bff, Laurel, is a wonderful manifestation of support and love, despite not always (ever?) having been seen or truly appreciated. Esme, Grace’s sister, is a teenager, and can be as pushy and obnoxious as Grace had been at her age. But there is real affection there too, a literal sisterhood, however strained, to build on. Able is a baddie from the Creeps ‘R Us factory. The verbal, psychological, emotional abuse to which he subjects the teenage actress will make you clench your teeth, and channel the rage we all feel toward the Epsteins and Weinsteins of this world. He persuades Grace that he knows her and her needs and capacities better than she does herself. Hear the lie often enough and you do not have to be a vulnerable teen for it to have a major impact. For my money the most interesting supporting character is Emilia, Able’s wife, who is trying to help Grace in her attempt to rebuild her life. How much did she know when it was happening? Is her affection for Grace real? Or is she secretly allied with Able in trying to fend off trouble the best way she knows how? She will keep you guessing.

Berman began this story before the reporting on Harvey Weinstein hit the presses, so there is no mention in the book of the ongoing #MeToo movement. This individual tale is, however, reflective of many stories that we have heard in the years since the abuse revelations began flooding out of Hollywood, and elsewhere. In showing how another director treats Grace, Berman makes a case for the pervasiveness of the abuse problem, what happens when the powerful and connected exercise their power over the powerless and isolated. Berman had worked for years in the music industry in the UK and came across plentiful instances of such odious behavior there.

It is impossible to read this book and not think of My Dark Vanessa. There are obvious similarities, teen girls sexually exploited by much older men, in positions of power over them. Able’s control was a lot more complete over Grace. Vanessa could have, theoretically at least, just picked up and gone to another school to get away from Strane. Whether she was mature enough to be responsible for her actions or not, Vanessa sought out the relationship. Grace did not get into her career looking for the sort of sexual adventure that Vanessa had, so is even more of a victim. Vanessa keeps trying to contact her abuser. Grace has complicated ties to connected people, but wants nothing to do with Able. Both novels portray adult women (Vanessa in her thirties, Grace only twenty one) trying to cope with the impact on their lives, and on their sense of self, of years of abuse during their adolescence. Both are faced with an opportunity to go public with what they experienced, which prompts an internal conflict on what to do. While they have obvious similarities, the books differ considerably in their feel. Vanessa seems a more literary approach, setting itself in an academic milieu, offering a host of literary references, and consideration of sexuality in classic books. Grace’s struggle has a more mainstream feel, and is set in Hollywood. Both are wonderful, but in different ways.

This is not a 100% evil abuser (well, he is, but…) vs saintly child story. Grace is portrayed as very human character, an obnoxious teen reveling in her newfound fame while looking down her nose at her family. She abuses substances, legal and not, and does not treat the people around her all that well. Some of that may be the result of too-young-stardom, from her adolescence having been stolen from her, and a reaction to the abuse and trauma she has suffered, and from which she continues to suffer, but some of it is pure Grace. Despite the fame and fortune that came with it, Grace had been severely broken. She is trying to mend the relationships she has damaged and remake her life, whether she will ultimately succeed or not, on her own terms.

In short, Ella Berman has written an engaging, effective narrative of hope emerging from a long, dark, damaging experience in a toxic world. It should have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
For a moment, everything is calm and I face the horizon. I watch a monster wave gathering power until it looms five feet above me, hissing. I hold my breath as the wave crashes over me and then I am plunged into darkness. Now I am just one other small thing among a million other things, spinning and twisting beneath the water’s surface. The water isn’t so blue under here, it’s blacker and murkier and I’m drifting and my lungs are bursting and it’s simultaneously the most alive and the closest to darkness that I’ve ever been.
Review posted – September 4, 2020

Publication dates
----------August 4, 2020 - hardcover
----------July 6, 2021 - trade paperbaack

I received an ARC of The Comeback from the publisher. I accepted it freely. There was no manipulation involved.

And thanks to MC. You know who you are.

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, Instagram and FB pages

Berman’s Instagram page shows images that she found inspirational in writing the book. Check it out.

-----Curtis Brown Creative - Ella Berman: ‘I always try to find the humour wherever I can’ - By Katie Smart
-----Shondaland - With 'The Comeback,' Ella Berman Takes Hollywood’s Abusive Power System to Task By Katie Tamola - August 5, 2020
Similar to her novel’s protagonist, Berman grew up in both London and Los Angeles. While in London, Berman worked in the entertainment industry, for Sony Music, where she admits she observed first-hand the abuse of power among those at the top. “I saw examples of ‘casual’ everyday sexism,” she says. “The particularly pervasive type I didn’t even always register at the time, right up to much more sinister behavior that was swept under the carpet, and I knew that this must also be happening across every industry in the world.”

-----Tom Petty - Free Falling

Items of Interest
-----Today - 12 questions to consider as you finish 'The Comeback' by Ella Berman - by Stephanie Larratt
-----My review of My Dark Vanessa
-----NY Times - The Lies Hollywood Tells About Little Girls by Mara Wilson
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
April 6, 2021

"You know, I don't expect you to give me any special treatment, but I thought you could at least pretend to like me."
Grace Turner - former child star, current disaster-girl - has spent the last year away from the public eye (aka hiding).
Looking back, I felt ashamed of how much I wanted it all.
She's newly sober and permanently numb, but for the first time in a year...she finds herself beginning to come out of her self-imposed isolation.

Able Yorke - the man behind Grace's rise to fame - is about to receive a lifetime achievement award and Grace is asked to present it and she's never felt colder.
I was untouchable, unstoppable, hurtling down a path to immortality so rapidly, so immaculately, that not one person stopped to question how it all worked so well...
She's confronted with the fact that no amount of hiding could cover up what happened to her...and now she has a choice. One that will change her life forever.
"Are you gonna be okay?" he asks after a moment.
"I have no idea."
So, objectively, this one was well-written.

The characters felt believable and the emotions that were wrought from me were real. Grace's survival was poignant and impactful.

The flashbacks worked really well with the story format and served to bring about emotional change within the main character.

It has an ode to the #MeToo movement and gave me serious Speak vibes.

However, much like the original Speak, the pacing felt off to me. There's lot of this book is spent...waiting...as Grace's character develops and as events slowly unfold. I wished that there was more action - particularly at the end - to really give that self-righteous oomph that I feel would've given that book an essential lift.

A huge thank you to Berkley Pub for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for JanB .
1,129 reviews2,289 followers
August 31, 2020
4.5 stars, rounded up

At the height of her fame, Grace Turner was a young up-and-coming Hollywood star when she disappeared, leaving it all behind. Holding onto an explosive secret and battling addictions, she hides out at her parent’s home in Anaheim for a year. Now, at age 23, she’s back and ready to confront her demons and get her life back. But the road is long and winding with many bumps along the way.

Discovered at 13, then groomed and made into a star by producer Able Yorke, Grace was a child who was not protected by her parents or the adults in her life. Able was a wolf in sheep‘s clothing, someone so powerful that not one person questioned what was happening as she was manipulated and abused in every way. She learned she couldn’t trust anyone, least of all herself.

This sounds like another somewhat tired #MeToo trope but it is not. The author began her book before the movement began and purposefully did not make it into a story for the movement. This could easily have been a formulaic story but is not.

I applaud the author for not detailing the intimate details of the abuse, focusing instead on Grace’s emotional damage, her struggles, and her lack of healthy coping skills. The author clearly did her research.

Able stole her childhood and she became emotionally stuck at the age the abuse started. She was maddeningly immature and self-absorbed one minute, while charming and sweet the next (like most teens). She lacked basic skills yet so desired to be “normal”. Grace was sympathetic, captivating, and real to me. I was so emotionally invested in her story that I simply could not put the book down, and read it in two sittings.

I didn’t think the world needed another “abuse” book, but I was wrong. Judging by the sheer number of passages I highlighted on my kindle, what really sets this book apart is the smart writing and the deep dive into Grace’s psyche as she tries to put her life back together. Heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful, this is the book I’ve been searching for all year. It completely sucked me in from the first page to the last. If I wanted to be nitpicky, I could have done without the epilogue, but it in no way detracts from my love of this book.

Highly recommended! I purposefully went light on plot in this review because the details are best discovered by the reader. But this ticked all my boxes: character-driven, smart writing, engaging damaged characters, and psychological insights. What an amazing debut!

This was a fun buddy read with my friend Marialyce, one we both enjoyed. For our duo reviews please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
Profile Image for Jaidee .
572 reviews1,071 followers
February 23, 2023
3 " well written, well meaning, simplistic and in the end disappointing" stars !!

The Shoulda Woulda Coulda Award of 2022

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Berkley Publishing group for an e-copy. This was released August 2020. I am providing my honest review.

I am going to keep this review short.

This is the story of a young actress in Hollywood who was sexually abused and gaslit by her director/mentor over a period of time in her youth and the aftermath. Parallel to this is her sister's story of being bullied in a private school environment.

The writing is excellent and straddles the line between literary and popular fiction. The general observations of life in vapid entitled circles in LA are enticing and wry. The complex reactions to trauma in first world circles are portrayed in a vivid and detailed fashion.

The book starts out as something quite meaningful and ends on notes of shrill violin vibratos that rings false and way too simplistic and way too Hollywood. Quite disappointing and maudlin by the end. All the male characters are written in villain or hero dichotomies and this takes away from any meaningful discourse on gendered power dynamics in Hollywood. Female complicity is done reasonably well but I fail to see in a cast of over twenty characters how all can be unlikable with varying degrees of narcissism and machiavellianism. Is that really life in LA? I don't think so.

Read My Dark Vanessa instead !

August 25, 2020
Grace seems to have it all in Hollywood style and people see her as spoiled and entitled. They see her as they want to see her, but underneath that glamour, there is more to Grace. Behind all that she is vulnerable, lost and alone with her secrets. Secrets that have rocked her sense of safety and self-worth. She tried to leave it all behind and now she has come back and must confront her past and what she has left behind.

I went excepting this to be a suspenseful thriller and that it is not. It has some suspense to it, and the story starts with a scene that left me with many questions. I was turning the pages as fast as I could to find some answers. At times I was a bit frustrated waiting for those answers and wished the pace was faster however through Grace we learn about her past as she confronts her past at her own pace and struggles with finding herself. I loved that dynamic to the story.

There is some behind the scenes writing here, and Ella Berman leaves it up to us to piece together the trauma that has left Grace feeling alone and wanting to hide from the world. The focus is on Grace's eternal struggles while not exploring the details of her trauma. She gives us enough to know what is going on to allow us to form our own thoughts.

I instantly connected to Grace and her vulnerability and loneliness tugged at my momma heartstrings and I wanted to protect her. Grace's relationships with the other characters are complicated and I wished that they were fleshed out more than they were. I questioned the motivations of the other characters that created some tension to the story for me however I wished there was more depth to them.

I did feel a little letdown to the conclusion to the climax to the story and I loved one twist to the story that did give it a clever thrill to the story for me. I loved the way things wrapped and Grace's comeback was rewarding!! I highly recommend it!

Talking about my shelves or maybe to myself.

I have added this one to my feminism shelve because I thought it gives awareness to the systemic abuse of power against women and is a voice for the me too movement. I thought the author did a good job representing Grace and her trauma with sensitivity and gave a stand against abuse. I stand with her!!

I received a copy from the publisher!
Profile Image for Michelle .
863 reviews1,225 followers
August 4, 2020
A round of applause for Ella Berman! 👏👏👏👏

A tale all too common. This book is absolutely enthralling and I couldn't look away.

Grace Hyde was only 14 years old when she auditioned for a role in a movie. To her surprise legendary director Able Yorke sees something in her and decides almost immediately that she will be his muse. Her and her family relocate from their home in England to California so Grace can film a trilogy of movies with Able. Over time Able's controlling and manipulative ways isolate Grace from everyone even her family. The only person she has in the world is Able. He is emotionally abusive to her and gaslights her any chance he can get to keep a firm grip on her. Over time his motives become sexual in nature and Grace doesn't understand what is happening and thinks it is all her fault. Over the next few years Grace relies on drugs and alcohol to numb her mind from the dark thoughts that spin round and round. After hitting rock bottom she returns to her parents house in Anaheim to get sober.

“...I was his muse and he was my Svengali. I was untouchable, unstoppable, hurtling down a path to immortality so rapidly, so immaculately, that not one person stopped to question how it all worked so well, a fortysomething man and a teenager being so inextricably linked.”

One year later, now sober, Grace reappears to the world - the media is going wild wondering where she's been all this time. Slowly but surely Grace starts to get her life together and in doing so she forms a plan to take down the man that destroyed her life.

“I know that somebody hurt you. Now it’s time for you to fuck shit up, baby lion.”

Let me just say that I was team Grace all the way. She is so funny and caring but because she was abused for so long and because she believes it was all her fault she has terrible self esteem. She thinks she is unworthy of love from anyone and despises being touched in any way. To watch Grace evolve from a broken young woman to one of courage and determination was so compelling to read about.

For a debut novel this is quite impressive. Elle Berman is the real deal and I am so excited to see what else she has in store for us. All the stars!

I would like to thank Elisha Katz from Berkley Publishing who was kind enough to reach out to me to review an early ARC edition of The Comeback. This is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
618 reviews1,490 followers
August 19, 2020
Grace Turner is living with her mom and dad in a California suburb, just trudging along in her current day-to-day life. A year ago, she was a Hollywood actress at the height of her career...just about to break into the elite A-List. What made her walk away from all of that? Answer: Director Able Yorke, the man who emotionally manipulated and sexually abused her for years.

Now, back in LA, Grace is getting a second chance to re-establish her career. As opportunities arise for her to get back at the man who stole her happiness, she has to decide if it’s worth it...and what’s best for her to move on and reclaim the life she lost.

This “ripped from the headlines” story probably feels familiar to all of us these days. I could feel how broken Grace was, and felt like I could see her eyes that no longer held light in them. There was definitely a feeling of anger as I read about a young girl turn into a young woman who no longer felt she had any power. Kudos to author Ella Berman on her debut. She brings the characters to life. You will feel many emotions with many of them. I liked a great deal of them, and appreciated the sometimes darkly humorous commentary that Grace and the others made (in a story with a very non-humorous subject).

Will Grace find the happiness she lost years ago, and get to a place of healing? You can find out now as the book is available everywhere.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,089 reviews30.1k followers
August 15, 2020
A couple years ago, I reviewed Rose McGowan’s Brave. I listened to the audio narrated by the author, and the first thing that struck me was how real she was about every aspect of her life she shared. I felt that same raw honesty in this fictional story of Grace, and I absolutely loved it.

Teen star Grace Turner is nominated for a Golden Globe when she disappears. She put herself in exile, and now she’s back and sober. She seeks a more private life and knows it won’t come easy.

Grace is asked to present an award to a director who controlled her life for a number of years, and her best laid plans may come crashing down.

Grace’s story feels so real and well portrays the plight of childhood actors. Drugs, alcohol, and self-destruction are vices she desperately wants to put behind her. The writing is strong and engaging, and I just loved this powerful story. Ella Berman has penned a remarkable, memorable debut.

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Holly.
1,415 reviews960 followers
June 3, 2021
3.5 stars

At times frustrating in how the story meandered and circled around the defining issue that impacted Grace, and yet at the same time it was handled it in a very realistic way. Trauma can at times overwhelm and impact everything but at the same time be stuffed down and ignored until it bubbles to the surface again, or sometimes erupts like a volcano. I also appreciated how there were many different shades of victims and perpetrators established in the various characters, much like we see in the real world and not just in Hollywood. This story is of course timely and is still reflected in the ongoing Me Too movement. It doesn’t tie things neatly up into a bow, which I thought was the right choice for this kind of book. I just wish the final confrontation was somehow bigger - you blink and it’s over, which is a little galling after all that build-up.
August 25, 2020
3.5 stars.

An eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look into the life of a teenage actress.

I really liked the main character, Grace, and felt an immediate investment in her story. She was so young, vulnerable and alone with her fame and fortune. It was heart wrenching to learn what can happen behind the scenes in Hollywood. I worried for her not having the support she needed, especially at such a young age. I thought the author did a fantastic job portraying the deceit, manipulation and abuse without actually giving the reader unnecessary detail. This was an eye-opening look into how Hollywood lives are portrayed and perceived versus the reality of how some of these rich and famous “Hollywood stars” live. You can have all the money in the world, yet be lonely and alone.

I enjoyed watching Grace’s relationships change throughout the story. As she learns more about her true self and where she belongs in the world, Grace works on her relationships with her family, friends and husband. I thought the author did a great job with the secondary characters which, in turn, shed light on Grace as a person.

The overall reading experience was a mix of things for me. I really enjoyed many aspects of the novel, but some parts dragged. The writing was great, but the storyline wavered as far as holding my interest consistently.

Overall, my curiosity was piqued and I rooted for a positive outcome for Grace. This was an interesting and entertaining read that provided a thought-provoking look into the fame and fortune of young actors in Hollywood.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a physical review copy!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
August 13, 2020
“I was untouchable, unstoppable, hurtling down a path to immortality so rapidly, so immaculately, that not one person stopped to question how it all worked so well, a fortysomething man and a teenager being so inextricably linked.”

Timely and compelling. Heartbreaking and hopeful. Riveting and disturbing. Ella Berman’s debut will resonate with any woman who has ever been objectified by a man catcalling her as she’s walking down the street or made to feel less then by a man Gaslighting her to believe that it’s all her fault. When Grace is 13 she is discovered at an audition in her UK hometown. Famous movie producer Able Yorke has found his muse and gives Grace’s family an offer they can’t resist. Enticed by the glittering Hollywood movie star lifestyle the entire family packs up and moves to California. Grace loves the glamorous lifestyle and being able’s number one protégé. But things go dark when the Producer crosses the line sending the protégé down the lonely path of guilt and insecurity.

Ella Berman started writing this in 2017 before #metoo. In the author note at the end she talks about this and why she didn’t really bring the movement into the story. I have a really hard time with stories about men in power taken advantage of innocent or even not so innocent girls/women, but I have to say the story did a really thoughtful job with the subject matter. Nothing was overly graphic or gratuitous it was more implied than anything else. This really allowed me to focus on Grace and her comeback. Grace was such a sympathetic character she was so hardened and yet so naïve. She could party like a champ, but she couldn’t purchase a phone. I’d imagine this is true of many child stars they are not able to do many of the things that their “normal“ counterparts are able to. I really loved watching Grace’s growth throughout the story. She started as a selfish spoiled diva and grew into a compassionate caring human. I also liked that this is not a total manhater book, seriously the nicest most caring character in the story was Dylan (Grace’s husband). A well told thought-provoking story with well developed characters. Just a little warning there is a lot of alcohol and drug use in the book, I mention this because I think the story will appeal to teens but in case you don’t want your kids to read about that here’s the warning.

This book in emojis 🎬 💊 🍸 🏖 📹 🎤

*** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
October 3, 2022

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THE COMEBACK is yet another book that I applied SO HARD to get an ARC of when it was just coming out. Obviously, I did not get one, like the book peasant I am, so I had to wait until it came out to get my hands on a copy. Now that I've spent a delirious two days of gut-clenching agony and vindictive elation experiencing the highs and lows of this book, I think I can safely say that THE COMEBACK met all of my expectations and even exceeded them in some ways.

Grace Turner/Hyde is in her early twenties. When she was in her teens, she was an It Girl, one big movie away from being a red carpet A-lister. But then something happened and now she's just a wreck. After disappearing for a year, she's back home in L.A., trying to figure herself out. We see her with her dysfunctional family, ex-husband, and old friends, as she tries to navigate who she is, and what the film director, Able Yorke, reduced her to with years of abuse.

This is simultaneously the story of a damaged girl's rise and fall, like WHITE OLEANDER, and a #MeToo story that ends in triumph (or, at least, something like it). It's hard to write a fully fleshed out and nuanced character who has serious emotional baggage without sensationalizing it, but I feel like Ella Burman did such an amazing job with Grace. Her thoughts and the way she turned to substances to ease her cognitive load really rang true, and there was never a moment that I wasn't in her corner, even when she was making all the wrong choices.

I think anyone who enjoys dramatic coming-of-age stories or female characters with trauma is going to love THE COMEBACK. It's a sympathetic portrait of a very troubled woman, and I loved hearing her story. Just keep in mind that it has loads of triggers for abuse, addiction, and trauma, so if that's something you're not comfortable reading about, you might want to avoid.

I can't wait to see what this author writes next.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Gabrielle Grosbety .
108 reviews73 followers
March 14, 2022
“I wasn’t so much a person as an idea, shaped not only by the people around the table with me that night but by the millions of people who would pay to watch my movies in the years to come.”

Welcome to LA, the land of chronic sunshine, bleached blond hair ruffled from waves, mickey mouse ears and commercialization that artificially promises and prides itself on eternal happiness and stretched smiles that reach ears, almost as if painted on, people, especially wannabe artists and aspiring actors/creators, trying to be something and make their lasting mark on the industry, manicuring stardom that forces you to become something you’re not, and certain people as fickle as a delicate, passing breeze that will turn on you in an instant.

“It’s easy to forget the things you loved about a city that ruined you.”

Grace now twenty-two, once a child actress plucked from her British hometown out of obscurity on account of her natural talent that evokes spontaneously meaningful feeling, finds herself deeper and deeper in LA’s shiny clutches, all the while a deeper part of her yearns to dispel the myth of brilliantly blinding beautification that LA promises. While also realizing she is part of it all, even complicit in letting her own self profit off of it and bask in it, even though she is young when she begins and still has a lot to uncover and learn. As Hollywood was already exerting a sense of domineering control over her before she even knew it was happening.

“I start to swim toward them, and as each measure of oxygen expands in my lungs, I feel lucky for the reminder of how vulnerable we are to depend on anything so much at all.”

Amongst her process of growing up she also confronts her own history, sexual abuse, experiences of being gaslighted, and power struggles all with one of the most powerful men and directors, Able Yorke, in the industry who operates as slickly as oil with a grating smoothness that jangles the nerves and unsettles the soul because he can almost seem kind, which betrays his more menacingly calculating, smarmy inner workings and part of him that grooms her to trust him, even trust that he knows her better than she knows herself.

“I want to tell her that I know all about power imbalance that exists every time you meet someone who’s seen you at your most vulnerable, whether or not it was your choice in the first place.”

After Grace reaches her all-time breaking point, however, after a steady build-up of incident and lived effects of the brutally intense physical and emotional scarring left behind indelibly on her from a young age, she begins to go on a perceptively laid out journey of growth, relapse, and change. In all of which comes a sense of deepening discovery and messy moments of living and functioning as a human in the darkness of her own space and in the limelight of her moments in the spotlight among cameras that catch all her moments and angles, even the more unflattering ones in which she struggles to reclaim her own narrative and inner, burgeoning power.

“ “I’m just saying, I understand that sometimes the worst part of it all is that you lose control of your own story.” ”

I thought this story and the development of characters was beautifully, jarringly done in an authentic, unkempt way that explored the reality behind the façade and the pain that lurks in the heart and soul from feeling singled out from the weight of abuse, with the additional fear that you won’t be believed if you do speak up. These are necessary stories and portrayals of the more unglamorous, repulsive truths that hide behind the surface untouchability and beckoning, flashy intrigue of Hollywood. And I love that it was Grace’s truth and emotional ups and downs this book most closely followed and heart-wrenchingly brought to the forefront, instead of giving Able that additional power. He realistically deeply inflicted pain on her and affected her life over and over again, but he never defined her and her own journey to in fact come back from all her unprocessed demons and begin the continual, ever-evolving journey of being unapologetic in her own acceptance of herself.
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,297 reviews
August 23, 2020
4.25 Haunting Stars

Grace Turner is a child star in Hollywood. She was plucked from obscurity at age 14 and signed to make three movies with the renowned director Able Yorke. About ten years later, she flees Hollywood, broken and now living with her parents.

She is not any happier with her parents and decides to return to LA to see if she can reclaim any of her former life. As the book progresses, we learn about her years as an actress and her tortured relationship with Able. This was a page turner that made me grapple with the realities of Hollywood and stardom. How does anyone emerge unscathed? The lifestyle of parties, drugs, and booze -- while it looks glamorous, challenges anyone’s identity and character. Paparazzi hound them and they are criticized if they don’t look their best. And the worst is what happens on the casting couch. In an era of #metoo, this book fit right in and the author doesn’t pull any punches with this realistic take.

While I was rooting for Grace to make her “comeback” I was hopeful that her mental state could take such a return. Will she find justice or is she better off trying to find a “normal” life outside of Hollywood? This was a fabulous debut novel and rightly deserves the accolades it is receiving.

This was a fun buddy read with Mary Beth.

Thank you to Berkley for the complimentary copy through Edelweiss. This one is out now!
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,001 followers
February 13, 2020
Ella Berman does such a good job of describing the ways Grace was psychologically abused by the man who plucked her out of nowhere at the age of thirteen, turned her into a star, but repeatedly tells her she’s messed up in the head and he knows her better than she knows herself. Like any abuser, her cuts her off from family and friends and anyone who might advocate on her behalf. At any age, there are people out there who can make you doubt your talent, but when you’re only thirteen, you’re especially vulnerable.

According to the author’s note, she began writing this novel before all the #metoo revelations about powerhouses like Harvey Weinstein were finally being revealed openly. Movie stars and other women with celebrity like the women at Fox “News” propaganda were mostly what made the news, but it’s hard for me to imagine any woman who doesn’t have some stories about men who held conversations with our breasts and not us or being held down and raped and then not been believed by cops and endlessly being told to smile when we’re just walking down the street, as if it’s our job to bring sunshine and happiness to all, especially men.

This is a well-written novel, although it’s not fun or happy. The main character Grace is flawed but relatable even if her story is different than the majority of us who aren’t naturally Hollywood-style beautiful and famous.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES AUGUST 11, 2020.
Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 17 books414 followers
August 26, 2020
I was untouchable, unstoppable, hurtling down a path to immortality so rapidly, so immaculately, that not one person stopped to question how it all worked so well...

Having just finished My Dark Vanessa, I wasn't sure I was ready to take on another novel involving the continued sexual exploitation of a teenaged victim...particularly at the hands of the Hollywood patriarchy. The Comeback, however, didn't feel as dark and heavy as My Dark Vanessa. Yes, the reader is once again inside the head of a traumatized young woman, but Grace had a strength and lightness to her that Vanessa's character lacked.

Ella Berman's debut novel weaves a powerful narrative about the #metoo movement, with an intense focus on redefining pain and finding redemption.

Though I truly enjoyed this novel, it did drag through multiple portions, offering secondary stories which were only vaguely interesting. And although the conclusion was satisfying, after all the build-up waiting for that one big confrontational moment, I was disappointed by how lackadaisically it all played out.

Overall, I'm giving this an enthusiastic 3.5 stars. I look forward to Berman's future works.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,563 reviews5,865 followers
October 16, 2020

Grace started her movie stardom at a young age. Able Yorke was a director who saw something in her and made her his muse. So what happened to send Grace to go running home to her parents and hide from the world?

You find out slowly some of Grace's secrets as the book progresses and it's all very timely.

I probably should have said at the beginning of this non review that the book just did not wow me as it has other people. Go read their reviews.
I'm a long time 'like' nothing reader.

HOWEVER...I think if you are hiding from the press and the bad person some of the things that Grace did just didn't make sense to me.

Other stuff that just lost stars for me were the fact that the ending was pretty much sleep inducing and the book tended to drag in several spots.

I'm sorry five star peoples.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Camilla.
184 reviews266 followers
October 12, 2020
2.5 stars!

“The most vicious demons have always been my own, and I’ve never learned how to protect myself from them.”

I really thought that The Comeback would get 5 stars from me. However, while the synopsis sounded interesting, I think that the story itself went nowhere.

We follow Grace Turner, a hotshot actress who started her career as a teenager and by 22 disappeared from the media for a year due to psychological trauma caused by sexual harassment, the man to blame being the director who made her famous.

I really enjoyed the flashbacks and reading about Grace in the movie sets, where everything happened. I was also perplexed with how she grew up in a bubble, completely incapable of have a normal adulthood. But the problem I had was that, from the cover, I expected it to be a dramatic novel, and I what I got was a very slow pacing and absolutely no climax. I didn't even understand what the author was trying to accomplish, because Grace wasn't a very likeable character and the book ends without a full grasp of her arc. I do think that the writing was good, and that's what kept me going further. Also, it kind of reminded me of the movie Judy (2019), both for the pacing and the filmmaking aspects.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,889 reviews487 followers
July 22, 2020
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why would an up and coming teen actress on the cusp of becoming one of the hottest tickets in show business suddenly disappear from Hollywood? We meet Grace Turner, one year after her dramatic departure, promising to live a life of sobriety and no drug abuse, Grace's relationships with her immediate family, husband, and friends are in shambles. But Grace is contemplating a return to the set if only to finally confront the director that controlled every aspect of her career.

Ella Berman's novel is a slow burn, riddled with emotion, and steering us through Grace's confusion, anger, and hurt. Although it is clear from the beginning of the demons that Grace is fighting, future readers will have to be patient as Berman carries us towards the climax of the novel. Grace is also not the only flawed character in this novel and as informed as we are as readers, I must admit to being frustrated at how confrontational so many of the people around Grace were towards her. But then as I finished the novel and reflected on it overnight, I realized we all have the capacity to be so locked in our emotional tidal wave, that even when we can see another person hurting we still have the tendency to lash out at them.

This was one of my anticipated novels of the summer and it didn't disappoint.

Goodreads review published 21/07/20
Expected Publication 03/08/20
#TheComeback #NetGalley
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,259 reviews2,943 followers
June 24, 2020
3.75 stars

There have been quite a few books in recent years that explore the topics brought up in the #metoo movement. I consider it a good thing that publishers are more willing to take on these type of stories. Now while I wouldn't say The Comeback is my favorite out of the ones I have read, I still found it to be a worthwhile read. I rarely bust out the quarter stars when rating a book but because I found the novel to be thought provoking I figured it was worthy of more than 3.5 stars.

Grace Turner catapulted to fame as an actress when she was a teenager. Steadily working for years, Grace disappears from the limelight for a year and gets sober. She's now back in Los Angeles and has been asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke. He's the person who helped kick start her career in Hollywood. Able is very controlling, among other things. The story alternates between the past when Grace is working as an actress as well as the present time in which she's trying to get her life back together.

Harvey Weinstein might come to mind while reading this book and what's interesting is according to the author's note she started writing this book months before the what was going on in Hollywood became headline news. While the subject matter in this book might be difficult for some to read, most of the story is about the aftermath of working with a particular person. It gets a little graphic but not nearly to the extent I have read in other books dealing with the same topics.

The pace of the book is very slow and it honestly feels like not much is happening to advance the story. But I do believe there is value in sticking with it. In my opinion it is a book more appreciated after you are done reading and have seen the character's entire story arc. And the fact there aren't many standout moments actually gives it more of a realistic feel. There's just something unique about this book and how it was written. Maybe some readers will find it boring, but I thought it was a thought provoking read.

Thank you to Berkley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
494 reviews245 followers
September 27, 2020
Man, this book was exceptional! I'm torn on my rating of it however, because on one hand absolutely nothing really happened in it, but on the other hand it was so emotionally taxing and well written that I very much so felt myself in our protagonist's shoes, and could not put this down! It's hard to go over the plot of this one without spoiling anything, but let's just say it did remind me a lot of what I imagine many stars such as Britney Spears have gone through growing up as a child star and having their every need catered to 24/7. Reading this made me thankful that I have by many standards a normal life, and as we read towards the end of this book, that's okay! This is genre defying in my opinion, but more than anything a drama. I would cautiously recommend this to anyone, with the understanding that there are triggers in drug abuse, emotional and physical abuse of a minor, rape and severe mental health issues leading to suicidal tendencies - let's just say this one was heavy! I will most definitely continue reading this author, and cannot wait to see what her follow up to this will be!
Profile Image for Kendall.
635 reviews633 followers
January 28, 2020
Hmmm well... where do I start with this one?

The story highlights on Grace Turner a young star that rose quickly in Hollywood who disappears suddenly after a few years of fame.

Ella Berman explores an intimate look at the life of a young woman trying to put her life back together after a tragedy.

Grace turns to alcohol and drugs to cope with the horrible things that happened to her as a teenager on film sets and behind closed doors. Now a year later, Grace in her 20's is trying to put her life back together. Grace knows that the private life and facing her demons with old friends, movie sets, and that lifestyle may be more difficult than she can handle. But, when she is asked to present an award to director Able Yorke..the man who controlled her every move for 8 years... Grace realizes she can't keep running from her demons.

I was very excited to get my hands on this and was expecting a tale of wicked revenge. But, I have to say this is more of an intimate look into the psyche of Grace and how she overcomes her fears, demons, and facing the truth.

It was a bit slow for me and there wasn't much going on throughout the novel until the end. I was a little bored and upon the ending was just thinking that's it?

What I did love? We get a look into the darker aspects of Hollywood and men in power roles.

But, would I say that this is on my top list to read? No, unfortunately.

Overall, 3 stars for me on this one.

Thank you to Berkley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Publication date: 8/11/20
Published to GR: 1/27/20
Profile Image for Marialyce (absltmom, yaya).
1,940 reviews722 followers
August 31, 2020
How many of us have dreamed of being a star, of the fame and fortune list of people who we look to for being gorgeous, being gifted, providing us with entertainment, and being sought after? Isn't this a dream come true? To be discovered to be a Disney princess, to be adored, admired, to have everything you want at your fingertips? Yet, with all the glitter, the money, the houses, cars, and jewelry, there is an evil underside to being a star. This story takes a look at that side.

As we have seen Hollywood and the entertainment industry is filled with predators, men who seek not only control of women and girls, but also are well educated in the fact that the lights of fame glitter brightly and many are prey to their allure. These men know so well the girls to go after, the young unsophisticated, the ones who are cast adrift by parents who only see the allure of money and forget they have a child who they are supposed to protect. Witness the Weinstein, Lauer, Epstein men, plus scores of others who have not been outed but surely exist hidden in shadows with promises made and a web of deceit woven.

In this story, we meet such a girl. Grace Turner, was discovered at age 13 and started down a path that did indeed lead her to fame and fortune, but oh what a price she paid. When at the age of 23, she up and left the life that she had descended into, it's a time for her to come face to face with the things that haunt her, the things that destroyed her, the things she has nightmares about. For Grace has been molested, not only her body but also her mind has been screwed with all courtesy of producer Able York. He holds Grace, molds her into a star, but also makes her a pawn in the sick game he plays, as he crushes and dismantles her, Grace tumbles into the world of drugs, alcohol and a marriage to a man who loves her plummets. At that point, she has nowhere to go. She decides to go home to her parents and sister. Will this be the way to start healing or will her family once again abandon her to the whiles of an evil and cruel world that Grace seems to believe is perhaps what she deserves.

Totally tragic, this story did delve into the underbelly of Hollywood, the seedy side, the side that has been hidden by glitz and glamour. It's a tale that rings ever so true. We are well aware of the stories of Marilyn Monroe, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowen, and Lindsay Lohan, etc. One can bet that there are a multitude of others that have seen their lives destroyed by predators. These men come in all walks of life, they seek out the weak, the young, and those not protected by adults. This was Grace, sad destitute but with a will that tried to right the wrongs done to her. Whether she does succeed is the gist of this compelling story.

These days many of us wish we could put our children and grandchildren under a protective shield as we send them out into a word where much evil exists. We want to surround them with safety, never fearful, but now we find that such a case is fraught with danger and jeopardy. Jan and I decided to read this book and found it to be a clear indictment against those who prey upon our children. As grandparents with young grandchildren, we worry about the world we are sending these children into. Will they be prepared and can a parent prepare them without frightening their child into not wanting to go out their front door? We were both very happy to have read this story and do recommend it.
Profile Image for Susan - on semi hiatus.
410 reviews111 followers
June 27, 2020
I thought this book would be a straight shot of payback and retribution.

However, my expectations were too low because it’s so much more. It’s a layered and nuanced story of a still young child star grasping to find herself and her voice living in the Hollywood spotlight.

Clearing the fog moments at a time, Grace takes a step and then stops, paralized.

Where is she going?

And where has she been?

Everyone asks, but she doesn’t know.

I wasn’t sure that I liked Grace at first. Her interactions with her family didn’t win favor, but I found myself appreciating her complex personality and hoping for her happiness the more I read.

She’s very witty too. Buried in piles of self doubt are many droll comments made by Grace as she observes her existence. Those little gems brighten a sometimes bleak outlook.

Adding even more color is a Nativity scene performed by a youth group of the laugh out loud snort out your drink variety. The author’s writing ability had me sniggering and recalling attempts to bottle an inappropriate laugh - which you really can’t and thus intensifies the humor more.

I loved this and highly recommend it to readers liking women’s stories.

I received a print copy from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Penguin Random House, Ella Berman, and Goodreads!
Profile Image for Christina.
543 reviews192 followers
April 29, 2021
It took me some time to collect my thoughts about this nuanced, interesting book about a young ingenue in Hollywood who is robbed of her childhood. Of all the "Me Too" books that have come out this year -- many of which I really enjoyed -- this one stands out above the rest for its characterizations and layered thoughtfulness.

First of all, I listened to the audiobook version of this and loved the narrator. If you are looking for a great audiobook, this is an excellent one to try, though it is very involving and may be difficult to listen to while doing something else. The narrator does a superb job of capturing the spirit and heart of Grace, a young actress who was the muse of a famous director. We meet Grace after she has become extremely famous and she has just returned home to Anaheim after spiraling into a drug-addled crash. Grace is now looking back on her life as she attempts to recover, and she makes many funny and poignant observations. It is tough not to love and root for Grace, even through all her bad decisions.

From the very start, we know there is something very wrong in Grace's relationship with the director who made her famous. We meet director Able York at the dinner during which is is wooing both 13-year-old Grace and her parents to let Grace be his next big star. Able attempts to persuade them to let him "take care" of Grace while making her a superstar in his next big franchise movie series. As we see the dysfunctional relationship develop through Grace's memories, we wonder: is the relationship dysfunction primarily manifested in emotional abuse, and how hard and how horribly he pushes her emotionally through her acting? Or has there been sexual or other abuse? The answer is a very complex and disturbing depiction of a relationship that is a power imbalance and a manipulation of a child in every possible way. When the issue of sexual abuse arises, it is handled sensitively and powerfully. There's nothing lurid or exploitative about this book -- only Able's behavior.

One scene of the book, in which Able is making Grace perform a dangerous stunt, really stands out as symbolic. Also sad to witness is the failure of Grace's parents, friends, and significant other in seeing what she is going through with this director from a very young age. Grace is trying to come to terms with all this, and also trying to repair her relationship with her sister.

But I think what intrigued me the most about this book was the close, somewhat maternal friendship between Grace and Able's wife, Emilia. Grace almost seems to worship Emilia, as Emilia gave her attention her own mother was never able to provide. At the same time, Able was exploiting Grace for years. Did Emilia know? What did she know and when did she know? I had never thought as deeply about the wife of the abuser before reading this book.

Overall, I found this to be a wonderful and sensitive character study, and a very strong depiction of the exploitative relationship of a director to his "muse," who is actually just a child. I really recommend this book. It has stayed with me since reading it. I am very interested to read more of Ella Berman in the future - she is a sensitive voice on some tough subjects, and she really makes you root for her characters.
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1,312 reviews659 followers
August 31, 2020
“The Comeback” by Ella Berman explores the aftermath of sexual abuse trauma. As a society, we have been made aware of male dominated sexism through the “Me Too Movement”. This novel is about the lasting trauma, not just the moments of the abuse(s). Berman skillfully uses her protagonist, Grace Turner, to show the confusion, anger, depression, frustration, and horror that seems to never end. And through Grace, Berman shows how trauma manifests in victim through drugs, alcohol, and bizarre behavior. Can abuse cause mental illness? Certainly situational mental illness. Abuse can trigger crazy and it takes a strong person to come out of mental and emotional challenges.

Grace is a young teen when Hollywood director Able Yorke discovers her in London. He sweeps her to LA, distancing her from her family, and creates blockbuster movies, making Grace a known Hollywood name. Lots of early fame, adding to little family contact, along with youth is the perfect setup for a predator to create a long-term victim. Berman shows how confusing sexual encounters are for the victim. As Grace reflects, she has difficulty understanding how and when the craziness of her life occurred. The coping skills of abuse victims come out in drug and alcohol use and erratic behavior.

Grace begins her story at age 21, after hiding from Hollywood for a year. She just dropped out of sight, hiding in her parents’ home in Anaheim, CA. We know she’s hiding and hounded by the paparazzi when she goes out in public. Grace decides to move out of her parents’ home, and we learn how arrested her development is. She can’t do anything for herself; she’s used to “people” taking care of everything. We also learn of her hatred for Able, but we don’t know why.

The majority of the novel is Grace working through her life and where and when it went off the rails. After reading this story, I will look at actors who become train-wrecks a lot differently than I did before. The novel impresses the soullessness nature of Hollywood and of our culture. The novel is about the ugly byproduct of early fame along with lasting emotional trauma.

I loved the ending. To me, it was realistic. Saying that, it left me stunned. Yes, Harvey Weinstein went to prison, but what of the other thousands of abusers who victimized prey and nothing happens. Without proof, irrefutable proof, these people get away with it. To recognize this is truly stunning.
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