Thursday, August 9, 2012
Review: Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe
Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe by Jenny Hollowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe is Jenny Hollowell's first book. Like many things I read, it was an impulse pick at the library, chosen because it has a pretty cover and was part of the etc. series, which I have enjoyed in the past. I guess I love reading about how and why an author wrote what they wrote. This extra section was great; Hollowell even included her writing playlist for the book, and the songs really capture the mood of her writing.
But let's talk about the actual book. Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe is the story of Birdie, an aspiring actress trying to break through in Hollywood. We meet Birdie when she is 30 (only claiming 26), and follow her near mental breakdown as she attends parties, auditions for various commercials and bit parts. Biride falls in love (or doesn't?), she drinks, she hides. And then she somehow makes it, or so we are lead to believe. Hollowell doesn't lay everything out within easy reach for the reader.
I'm not going to lie and say that this was a pleasant book to read. Birdie is not a likeable character - she's a self-destructive alcoholic, and you know that she will never be happy, whether or not she finds the fame she craves. The whole book has this thick, gray cast. But Hollowell's writing is masterful. No word or sentence is wasted, and her prose are just lovely. Hollowell makes you feel Birdie's despair and internal confusion as you read, and this, I think, is a great accomplishment.
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