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
Today 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.
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!