Author: Anne Girard
Publish Date: January 26, 2016
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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. Amid a glittering cast of ingenues and Hollywood titans: Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes, Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all."
My Two Cents:
"Platinum Doll" is the story of Jean Harlow, golden goddess of the silver screen. It's a historical fiction take on her life and her rise from a young girl to a full fledged Hollywood actress. Harlow went to Hollywood in her late teens and passed away by the time that she was 26 years old. This book focuses specifically on her time in Hollywood. Before reading this book, I really only knew Jean Harlow the actress and almost nothing about her background. I liked how this book shed some light on who she was off the screen.
The book focuses greatly on Jean's relationship with both her mother and her husband. Jean's mother had dreams of her own of Hollywood greatness but was never able to cut it. Once Jean becomes famous, her mother seems to be living vicariously through her and does everything in her power to push Jean's star higher, even if it is not what Jean wants. Their relationship was fascinating. Jean continues to call her mother, "Mommie" and her mother calls her "The Baby" even in Jean's adulthood. The relationship between Jean and her first husband, Chuck, was also very interesting to me. Chuck does not want Jean to go into films and wants her to stay home and be content being a housewife, which is exactly what Jean does not want. I thought that we really saw Jean grow in the book when she was dealing with Chuck. At first, she bends to his will. Then, she stretches further and before long, she realizes that someone who will keep her from her dreams is not the right match for her.
The writing of the book is good. The author uses a lot of good detail to really pull the reader into Harlow's Old Hollywood world. Lots of the Hollywood greats make an appearance in this book. I enjoyed Girard's previous release, "Madame Picasso" and with this book, Girard is rising quickly to my "must-read" list.