Tag Archives: Hollywood

Book Review: Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures 
by Emma Straub

When Elsa Emerson, the youngest of three sisters, is cast in one of her father’s plays at their family’s Cherry County Playhouse in Wisconsin, she is given her first taste of the limelight. This sets into motion her life’s trajectory — shooting like a rocket out of Wisconsin and into the warm allure of Hollywood. Here, she begins her transformation from small-town blonde to a sultry brunette named Laura Lamont — an Academy award-winning movie star.

What I loved most about this book was how authentic it felt. Elsa/Laura was largely fictitious (based loosely on this actress), her story an invention of Straub’s mind and careful historical research. However, having recently read a few memoirs of Hollywood starlets from this same era (Katharine Hepburn’s “Me: Stories of My Life” a couple years ago and Esther Williams “Million Dollar Mermaid” a couple months ago), I felt as though Miss Lamont could have been shooting on a sound stage just down the hall from either of these real-life ladies!

An interesting similarity I found in reading about Hepburn and Williams was the loss of a beloved sibling early in their lives. Both women experienced the death of a brother and in turn felt a heightened sense of responsibility and drive. Esther Williams explains in her book how her brother was the one who was supposed to “make it” in life and in Hollywood. After his death, she felt as though she was two people in one body — her brother Stanton and herself. Hepburn threw herself into her studies after losing her brother and even celebrated her brother’s birthday as her own.

Similarly, the eponymous Lamont loses the sister she deems to be the most talented and beautiful of the Emerson brood. I think this is a fascinating look at the sacrifice and loss that sometimes sits lurking behind a person’s fame and success. How many of Hollywood’s elite might point to a dark cloud they used to buoy themselves? How many have a tragedy that compelled them to succeed in place of, because of, or in spite of this missing piece?

The book also delves into intergenerational mental illness and suicidality as multiple branches sprouting from Laura’s family tree find themselves facing loss and depression. It’s no secret that mental illness, addiction, and all sorts of family problems (divorce, death, MONEY) have gone hand in hand with Hollywood since film started rolling. But looking at these issues over the course of an entire life, and within multiple generations of a family, is a more fitting lens for exploring the effects of our favorite tabloid fodder.

Who should read this book – Anyone interested in The Golden Age of Hollywood, film making during the studio system era, and intergenerational mental illness.

Add to your list if you loved – Any memoirs of Hollywood stars; like Me: Stories of My Life  by Katharine Hepburn and Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams.

Other books by Emma Straub – Modern Lovers and Vacationers !

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The Celebrity Instagram Accounts You Should Totally Follow

Are you as obsessed with scrolling through Instagram as I am? I thought so.

The last post in my little IG series featured FOODIES. This time, I’d love to talk CELEBS! I mentioned before that this social media platform feels like a combination of a few of my favorite things — magazines, photo albums, and…well…diaries (what can I say! I’m nosy, lol.)

As someone who used to impulse buy trashy celeb magazines at the grocery check-out counter, following a few of my favorite famous folk is a great (and FREE) alternative.

You Should Totally Follow —

michalabanas … for her stupid memes (that I secretly love) and her goofiness.

kristenanniebell … who I started following during Hurricane Irma but stuck around because how adorable are she and Dax Shepard!? 

parisjackson … because she’s a magical hippie starchild. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C.

busyphilipps … for the Instagram STORIES, of course! But also her cute kids and bestie Michelle.

mindykaling … because she is major style inspo and she’s always down to offer a hilarious look at on set life.

britneyspears … everything about this Instagram is PERFECT and if you’re not following please do yourself a dang favor. (Also, if you love this account as much as me, give this podcast a listen. #obsessed)

Over to you! Leave your fave celebrity follows in the comments below. Oh, and drop your IG handle as well. Mine is @BBerg1012 and I’d love to connect (even though I’m not at all famous, lol). 

mid-week round-up

horsehead

What’s going on this week, guys? I hope you’re enjoying the book-themed week here on the blog. It seems fitting, given all the rain we’ve been getting, I just want to curl up on the couch and read novel after novel. Are you reading anything good right now? Hope your day is great wherever you are, and below are a few reads of a different variety (back to all-things books tomorrow though!)…

Voyages: Visual journeys by 6 photographers.

10 New Orleans musts for under $10.

Stop taking pride in not knowing how to do basic shit.

This ballerina starts her day with a corn-dog as a PRE-breakfast. (#spiritanimal)

Confessions of workplace masturbators.

I’m saving this podcast for a rainy day…or road trip.

Female debaters everywhere feel ya Hillz!

How to decorate a large wall.

30-minute sheet pan potatoes and chicken sausage.

Investments that will save you money in the long run.

Hugo Lucitante’s tribe sent him into the outside world so he could return and save their village.

Typecast as a terrorist.

mid-week round-up

sky in between

What are you up to this week? I arrived back in Miami on Monday evening after a few days at Western Kentucky University with the Forensics Team. They are preparing for two upcoming national tournaments and I was so excited to be a small part of their preparations. Such a talented, intelligent and  passionate team! Lucky for me, the first national tournament is coming up this weekend in Gainesville, FL. So, Chet and I are headed up this Friday. He’s never been to a national tournament on the college level so I’m excited for his experience. Especially because collegiate speech and debate was (and forever will be) such a big part of my life. Can’t wait! Until then, let’s check out some links…

The making of Meryl’s first Oscar.

8 different households were given $100 to spend on groceries. Here’s what they bought.

90-year-old woman foregoes cancer treatment to take the trip of a lifetime.

Why are women still getting Toxic Shock Syndrome?

One of America’s first female celebrities.

All 50 states re-imagined as food puns.

The criminalization of black girls in schools.

A simple formula to make the most of your next grocery trip.

A week in Boston on a $14,000 salary.

In defense of budget-friendly wedding dresses.

Photographer documents a Chinatown family.

Sombreros over the South.