Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Julie's Review: Platinum Doll


Author: Anne Girard
Series: None
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Mira
Pages: 368
Obtained: publicist
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: Interesting story about what it took Jean Harlow to become famous
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, novelist Anne Girard tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film. It's the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She's chasing a dream—to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights. In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want—a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends—except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition—to be an actress on the silver screen. With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she's thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth—that fame comes at a price, if only she's willing to pay it. ~amazon.com  

Review: Platinum Doll is the story of how Harlean Carpenter McGrew became the Plantinum Blonde, Jean Harlow. I have to be honest, I didn't know much about Ms. Harlow before reading this novel. I didn't even realize that she died so young. I wanted to read this one because I've been in the mood for anything Old Hollywood lately. It just seemed to be such a different place back then. Especially as the industry was moving from silent movies to "talkies".

Harlean was a young girl when she first experienced the awe of Hollywood. Her mother, Jean, had high hopes of becoming an actress. It is as a young, married girl when she returns to Los Angeles.  Her husband, Chuck, surprises her by getting them a house in an up and coming neighborhood, Beverly Hills. The neighborhood is filled with young couples with money who have nothing better to do than lunches and golf at the club. For the time period, they sure were free flowing with the drink during prohibition.

It was obvious to me that Chuck and Harlean loved each other but they were young. It was also obvious that Chuck was a little obsessed with her and wanted to control her. Harlean wasn't a young lady that wanted to be harnessed to being a homemaker. She was already going stir crazy after only a couple of weeks there.

What I loved about Harlean was her good natured personality. She was exactly what she seemed to everyone. She also knew what she wanted once she got a taste of it; an actress. She starts off as an extra but soon decides she wants more. This is where her marriage goes to hell. Chuck can't stand not being the center of Harlean's world. It's not just her career that is taking it's toll on their marriage, Chuck also likes to drink a lot.

The most interesting relationship in the book was the one between Harlean and her mom. Her mom was a trip. I found her mom, Jean Harlow, to be extremely overbearing. She didn't have fame so she wants to cash in on her daughter's. Harlean can't seem to break free of overbearing relationships. I really wanted to see her put her mom in her place but she just couldn't do it.

While she had a short life, it seems that it was one of adventure, a bit of love and a bit of heartbreak. She had an outstanding career and one that continues to intrigue people years after her death.

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