#245 ~ Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond

Published by: Harper Collins

Published on: March 23, 2010

Page Count: 459

Genre: General Fiction

My Reading Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher

Available Formats: paperback and eBook

Giveaway: please see the end of my review for details

tlc-logo-resizedToday it is my great pleasure to be Diane Hammond’s host on her TLC Book Tour for her novel, Seeing Stars.  I would like to thank her publisher for sending me a review copy.  I would also like to thank Harper Collins  for sending me a copy to giveaway on this blog!  Please see the end of my review for a list of the blogs who are on this tour with me.

I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours.  They always have great books and authors on tour.  Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.

My Review

If your child showed a talent for acting and wanted to give Hollywood a try, would you do all that you could to help him or her live their dreams?  Ruth Rabinowitz decides that she will when she moves to an apartment in Hollywood with her daughter Bethany, leaving her dentist husband behind in Seattle.  She quickly learns that however special she believes Bethany to be, there’s so much more to acting in LA than talent.  Together, the two of them forge a place of their own amidst the agents, managers, casting, directors, other actors, and, most especially, others wanting to act.  Do they have what it takes to survive and make Bethany’s dream come true?

Seeing Stars brought to light an interesting juxtaposition there is between two types of parents  bringing their children to Hollywood – those committed parents shuttling their kids from auditions and acting classes and those parents who happily drop their children off under the Hollywood sign never to look back.  With committed parents, you wonder why they are sinking thousands upon thousands of dollars into such an illusive career for children who have barely begun to live their lives?  Is it their child’s dream they’re helping them to pursue, or is it their own? The other situation is simply sad, making the stories of Allison and Quinn so compelling.  Their parents found it easier to let LA raise their children than to let them get in the way of budding relationships with new spouses.  While this may not be anything new, it seems particularly irresponsible to allow a place like that to raise your child.  It’s a form of prostitution in and of itself.  God only knows what happens to such kids who are not successful.  Allison and Quinn are the lucky ones, I’m sure.

Just as there are more actors in Hollywood than there are legitimate roles, there were too many characters in Seeing Stars.  For long stretches of time, Ruth and Bethany disappeared from the story.  Other than seeing some of these characters at an occasional audition or party, Laurel and her mother and even Quinn are not even on Ruth and Bethany’s radar screen.  Even though I really enjoyed Quinn‘s story, I lost interest in Laurel’s fairly quickly because they just did not seem relevant to Bethany’s story other than she and her mother have been at the game longer.  Had those three characters not been included, this novel would have read much more quickly and the second half wouldn’t have seemed as long.

Reading this novel was an enjoyable and educational experience.  Although I’ve seen the same made for TV movies, read the same interviews  with former child actors, I really had no idea about the workings of the Hollywood machine.  I found the terminology and background information fascinating. Diane Hammond wrote this novel after experiencing Hollywood as the mother of a hopeful child actor.  Her experience and knowledge is readily apparent in Seeing Stars.  You felt the hope and shared the disappointments.  Unlike other books I’ve read set in Hollywood, the characters and their stories weren’t sensationalized.  It tells about real people and how they survive in a world that is dominated by all that is artificial.  After reading this book, you’ll find that you no longer look at child actors or the bit roles on TV shows the same way.


Let’s have some fun with this giveaway.  If you’d like a chance to win a copy of this novel, leave a comment telling me about your childhood dream.  Did you want to be an award winning actor? An astronaut?  A mountain climber?  A ballerina?  Or were you like me and aspired to becoming a radio DJ?

Let me know – and if you have lived out your dream, include that, too.  I did get to guest DJ on my 21st birthday for an hour and it was so much fun.

Leave your comments by 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, April 7th for a chance to win this novel.

Diane’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Monday, March 1st: Lit and Life

Wednesday, March 24th: Clever Girl Goes Blog

Tuesday, March 30th: Metroreader

Friday, April 2nd: Booking Mama

Sunday, April 4th: BookNAround

Wednesday, April 7th: Write Meg

Thursday, April 8th: A Sea of Books

Monday, April 12th: Confessions…of a Real Librarian

Tuesday, April 13th: Serendipitous Reading

Friday, April 16th: Café of Dreams

Wednesday, April 21st: Book Club Classics!


  • At 2010.03.31 08:05, Sandy said:

    Although I am always following the whole Hollywood scuttlebutt, I think if I viewed it from the underbelly, and what it does to young kids, I might feel sick. As far as childhood aspirations? I was all over the place. I wanted to be a professional pianist…that was probably as close to Hollywood as I got. I wanted to be an archaeologist for awhile. Then a banker(?).

    • At 2010.03.31 11:27, Michele@ A Reader's Respite said:

      The “insider” information contained in this novel sounds fascinating. And I’m not sure how I would react if one of my kids wanted to go down that road….I’d want to protect them at all costs, but how do you do that without stifling their dreams? As for me, I wanted to be a jockey when I was a child….and then I hit 5’7″ and reluctantly conceded defeat. 😉

      • At 2010.03.31 12:34, Chris said:

        My childhood dream was to ride a horse. However, I had no idea how that would become a career and didn’t think that part through! I took riding lessons and always “rode” the carousel horses at the grocery store while my mom shopped. I tried to convince my parents to buy a horse for our small back yard in the suburbs. All to no avail and that dream eventually gave way to other more practical ones. … Knowing a few kids in the Hollywood business, this book sounds fascinating.

        • At 2010.03.31 14:29, Lisa said:

          I had the same problem with too many characters and felt like there was just too much going on.

          • At 2010.03.31 15:15, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

            The book sounds interesting, because it’s so true. I know parents who are doing the same thing for their kids with sports these days.

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            • At 2010.03.31 21:53, Veens said:

              I am sure I will support my child through whatever be its dreams. I want to do that for it.
              And I also think it is highly irresponsible to be the other kind of parent.
              But i am really not sure, if my baby wanted to make it big in movies… that would be something I would be totally discouraging it to do…
              I m not sure and this story line up is so compelling.
              Enter me please.. and i always wanted to be a dancer.. 🙂 and now i m not one.

              givingreadingachance AT gmail.com

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              • At 2010.04.01 00:24, trish said:

                I think it’s fascinating that the author was the mother of a child who wanted to be a star! She’d be a great author to have call in to book club who was discussing this book!

                Thanks for being on this tour, Jennifer! Love your review, as always. 🙂

                Read more from trish

                TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for February 18th – 23rd

                In Every Moment We Are Still Alive by Tom Malmquist
                Sunday, February 18th: Books a la Mode – author Q&A
                Monday, February 19th: Readaholic Zone
                Tuesday, February 20th: @readingbringsjoy

                • At 2010.04.01 11:49, Nicole said:

                  When I was younger I actually wanted to be an astronaut. I imagine me in that big white space suit and finding new planets or a way beyond the blackholes. I really wanted to go up their and I still wish to do so.

                  • At 2010.04.02 12:07, itsJUSTme-wendy said:

                    I would love a chance to win this book! It sounds great.

                    When I was little I wanted to be Amish! Hahahahaha! I know that is so funny but I really did! I also wanted to be a teacher and… I am still working with kids today, have been for 30 yrs.!

                    • At 2010.04.02 15:34, Anita Yancey said:

                      When I was young it was my dream to be a clothing designer. But it didn’t happen for me. Instead I married young and became a wife and mother. Really like to read this book. Please enter me. Thanks!

                      • At 2010.04.03 00:49, The Girl from the Ghetto said:

                        I saw this book on Goodreads and was instantly smitten. I had to laugh about the childhood dream for the contest, because now I have to admit that when I was a girl, I dreamed of becoming a rock star-movie star- author. A tripple threat, if you will. Well, I’ve been an extra in a movie (Whip It), a karaoke queen and I managed to get into a Kid Rock video (as a fan, not a dancer!) and I’m a blogger, still writing her memoir.

                        • At 2010.04.05 18:26, Sandy Greathouse said:

                          I always wanted to be a fashion illustrator or designer and its funny because I go around looking like a bag lady at home! lol I used to design my own Barbie fashions and make them for my daughter, nieces, friends and grandaughters so I got pleasure from doing that. Guess it was the frustrated fashion designer coming out in me.
                          I’d love to read “Seeing Stars”…enjoyed the review and it sounds interesting. Please add me to your giveaway list. Thank you!



                          • At 2010.04.08 09:55, annfes said:

                            My childhood dream was to be an international journalist – sort of Christianne Amanpour-like. The closest I ever got was as a stringer for a local daily. But I had 2 year old twins at home and I couldn’t handle the late nights! So much for my news career. I was better at home. I was better at being Mom.

                            (Required, will not be published)

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