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Laura Lamont's life in pictures
Emma Straub
Adult Fiction STRAUB

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her debut novel (after her early-2012 story collection, Other People We Married), Straub weaves together snapshots of the long, large life of Elsa Emerson, the youngest daughter in a family of quintessentially blonde, corn-fed Midwestern sisters living in Door County, Wis. In the late 1920s, the family runs a summer playhouse, and Elsa's first role, as a flower girl in Come Home, My Angel, coincides with a family tragedy. These two events shape her passion for acting and her desire to slip into a different character than that of the good, homespun girl she is. At 17, a few years before WWII, she moves to Los Angeles and finds Hollywood the perfect stage for her metamorphosis into Laura Lamont, a dark-haired, serious-eyed starlet who carries with her an air of mystery and gravity completely apart from her idyllic Midwestern upbringing. Written in a removed prose, Straub brings Elsa to life with the detached analysis of an actor examining a character, exemplifying Elsa's own remote relationship to her identity. Through marriages, births, deaths, and career upheavals, Elsa and Laura coexist, sometimes uneasily-until Elsa learns to reconcile her two selves. An engaging epic of a life that captures the bittersweetness of growing up, leaving home, and finding it again. Agent: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Brick House. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Born into a rural Wisconsin theater home in 1920, Elsa Emerson catches the acting bug at age nine. A family tragedy cements her determination to hit the silver screen, propelling her, eight years later, to marry fellow actor Gordon and head to Hollywood. An early pregnancy benches Elsa until she is discovered by powerful move executive Irving Green. He changes her name to Laura Lamont and remakes her image. The result? Stunning success. Not surprisingly, her marriage to Gordon runs its course, and soon she becomes, happily so, Mrs. Irving Green. Through the eyes of the kind, low-key Laura, who is more lucky than cutthroat, more trusting than wise, the reader is treated to a view of the Golden Age of Hollywood. VERDICT With this debut novel, following publication of her first short story collection in February (Other People We Married), Straub offers a charming tale spanning 50 years. Her strength is an ability to foster originality by turning her back on the stereotyped assumptions of the lives of movie stars whose backstories feed the magic. [See Prepub Alert, 3/12/12.]-Beth Andersen, Ann Arbor District Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Elsa Emerson
Family owns a playhouse; dreams of appearing on stage; gets married young and moves to Hollywood; becomes an award winning actress.

Irving Green
Most powerful executive in Hollywood; discovers Elsa; becomes Elsa's great love;.

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