Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Review: Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe by Jenny Hollowell

First line: Ask Birdie how she got here and she'll pretend she doesn't remember.

From the back cover: Birdie Baker has always dreamed of becoming someone else. At twenty-two, she leaves behind her small-town, small-time life - walking out on her pastor husband and deeply evangelical parents - and boards a bus to Los Angeles.

Seven years later. Birdie's life in Hollywood is far from golden. Stalled at the margins of fame, haunted by guilt about her abandoned marriage, she is on the verge of collapse when she meets Lewis, a beautiful young actor whose self-destructive impulses run dangerously parallel to her own. When Birdie's big break finally comes, both she and Lewis find that the Technicolor land of make-believe - and their place in it - is nothing like they had imagined.

My thoughts: I found this to be an interesting read with a timeless message...the grass isn't always greener on the other side. The book looks at the body doubles and film extras in Hollywood. By getting that one big break, Birdie is hoping life will transform itself into a wonderland.  We follow Birdie as she struggles to make her own way and those close to her, Redmond, Lewis, and Beverly, all watch and contribute to this struggle. Doing everything from unmemorable roles in movies and commercials to being a body double for an uppity actress, Birdie is constantly being told she's got something...that she's real. The problem is, Birdie has been pretending for so long that she doesn't know what's real anymore. She's trapped between the life she walked away from and the life she desperately wants to have...but will it be as magical as she hopes it to be? There are scenes that will make you laugh and scenes that will make you cringe, along with an ending that might surprise you! The writing is witty and refreshing and the story moves along fairly quickly, with both short and shorter (a few paragraphs) chapters. Jenny Hollowell has done well in her debut novel and I look forward to her future works.

I received a complimentary copy of Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe by Jenny Hollowell from Henry Holt and Company Publishers to review.


  1. Sounds like a good one... a timeless message indeed. How many people live like this???

    Thanks for the great review

    Have a blessed day

  2. What a fun concept for a book - I guess in that industry, you'd sometimes forget who you're "supposed" to be!


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