Thursday, April 26, 2018

Book Beginnings: The Girls in the Picture

The Girls in the Picture, by Melanie Benjamin (Delacorte Press, January 2018). Opening lines of the book's first chapter:

Frances / 1969

Lately, the line between real life and movies has begun to blur.

About the Book:
It's 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone's lips these days is "flickers" — the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. 
In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing screenplays. She also meets actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have given her the title of America's Sweetheart. The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by the mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution. 
But their ambitions are challenged by men and the limitations imposed on their gender — and their astronomical success comes at a price. As Mary, the world's highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas play out, personalities clash, and even the deepest friendships are tested. 
With cameos from Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering new era — its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak. (description from publisher)

Initial Thoughts:

This is yet one more of those Early Reviewer books from Library Thing that I've been neglecting over the last couple of months. I had hoped to get this one read and reviewed back around the beginning of the year, but got a little sidetracked by a bunch of other books. (I seem to have that problem a lot these days.)

Anyway, I'm not really sure what it was that first attracted me to this book. I don't generally read historical novels about movie stars, but I'm very interested in the period of the novel. And Frances Marion co-authored the screenplay of one of my favorite classic films, Dinner at Eight. So I'm looking forward to getting started on this one pretty quick.

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. I enjoyed this book, and learned a lot more about the movie industry in the Golden Age. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “THE NEW NEIGHBORS”

  2. This one has been on my TBR because of the setting. I really don't know much about Hollywood at this time so I want to know more!

  3. I do like the setting. I'll be adding this one to my wishlist. This week I have Better Off Read by Nora Page. Happy reading!


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