My Review of “The Girls in the Picture” by Melanie Benjamin, Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, January 2018
I enjoyed reading “The Girls in the Picture” by Melanie Benjamin. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. This is a story that starts in 1914 when silent movies were so important. This is also a novel that discusses friendships and the lifestyle in Hollywood.
Melanie Benjamin gives us a front row seat as she discusses the years in Hollywood as movies go from silent to talking, and the history of the Producers, Writers, Actors and Actresses and the Big Film Companies. Essentially as film producing gets more technical it seems to be a man’s world. In this novel , the blurb says ” there are cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino and Lillian Gish. The Girls in the Picture is, at heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness.” Other actors and actresses makes cameo appearances as well.
The author describes the two main characters Frances Marion, and actress Mary Pickford, or “America’s Sweetheart” as complicated and complex. Mary Pickford’s husband Douglas Fairbanks is discussed as well. Both Mary and Frances are ambitious, and aggressive in pursuit of the Hollywood dream. Mary becomes the famous actress commanding an expensive salary, and Frances, a screen-writer, one of the most highly paid one in the industry. Eventually Mary becomes a partner in her own film studio. Both are friends and seem at times to be co-dependent on each other, and at other times seem to be competitive. This is a man’s industry, and it is difficult for women to make their own path.
Of course Hollywood is known for drama, and the lifestyle causes disagreements, jealousy, blame disappointment and heartbreak. This story also takes place during World War One,where Frances Marion goes hoping to get a story about women and war, and facing danger every step of the way.
I would recommend this novel for those reader that are interested in the “Glitz” and “Glimmer” of Hollywood Production, Actors, Actresses and the industry itself. I received An Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.