2014: 87. Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

"Elsa was the youngest Emerson by ten years; the blondest, happiest accident."

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, Emma Straub

I'm just not sure what the point of this book is.  I was looking forward to reading a Hollywood novel, especially about the 1920's and 1930's and thought this would be fun, but honestly, with one exception, the novel has no heart.  It feels like Straub took a bunch of famous actresses' lives and blended them together, and the resulting story has no inner core to it.  For example - you have Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg (Laura Lamont's husband is 100% Norma Shearer), Judy Garland (the long druggy bit in the middle), etc., etc.  No, the only part that seemed emotionally authentic, and not just a reworking of real actresses' history is Lamont's early life - growing up in a theater family (as Elsa Emerson) and the loss she feels when her beautiful sister commits suicide.  Everything after that seems to have no real emotional stakes - the birth of her children, the divorce from her first husband, her son's emotional problems, it all blends together.  Maybe because that part came from Straub's imagination, instead of Wikipedia? Laura Lamont never felt real to me - just a collection of tics and histories stolen from other people, and so, I was disappointed by this book.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017