Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “We Came Here to Shine” by Susie Orman Schnall, St. Martin’s Press, June 16, 2020
Kudos to Susie Orman Schnall, author of “We Came Here to Shine” for writing such a memorable, captivating, intriguing, entertaining, and thought-provoking novel. The Genre for this novel is Historical Fiction. The timeline for this story is 1939, at the World’s Fair in Queens, New York. I loved everything about this story. Susie Orman Schnall has such a wonderful way of vividly describing the characters, the events, the scenery and captures it all in a wonderful novel. The author describes her colorful and dramatic cast of characters as complex, and competitive. There are secrets, betrayals, inequality between men and women, and certain subjects were best kept to oneself. This is a wonderful and heartfelt story about friendship, sisterhood, family, and searching and finding what one is truly looking for.
I have memories of my parents taking me to visit the World’s Fair at the same place in 1964. Some of the buildings were the same. I was a child, but so impressed what the future might bring, I do remember the excitement and trying to remember “everything”. I appreciate the hours of research the author did to describe her story.
Max, is a young, ambitious journalist, who wants to make her mark on the world. She finds that her assignment turns out to be at “The World’s Fair” daily paper instead of the New York Times. More than anything, Max wants to be taken as a serious journalist. She gets to meet Vivi, a Hollywood actress that has been sent to the World’s Fair to be the star in the”Acyacade” swimming, dancing, and singing program. Vivi feels that this will ruin her chances at her Hollywood career. Both women realize that their careers seem to be based on the whim of what men think is the best thing, not the right thing. Both of them do feel that women should be treated equally and by merit.
I appreciate that the author discusses topics as equality, homosexuality, the importance of family, friendship, communicating, love, and hope. This was in the times before the “me-too” movement and just before World War Two. The two friends realize what their priorities really should be, and make sure that’s how they follow their dreams and realities. I highly recommend this thought-provoking novel. Happy Reading!