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378 pages, Hardcover
First published 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.
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.
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?
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
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.”
Grace Turner - former child star, current disaster-girl - has spent the last year away from the public eye (aka hiding).
"You know, I don't expect you to give me any special treatment, but I thought you could at least pretend to like me."
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.
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.So, objectively, this one was well-written.
"I have no idea."
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...