Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub

A life transformed.  That’s what happens in the picturesque yet somewhat mundane existence of little Elsa Emerson in Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Staub.

In the 1920s Elsa is living her childhood in the Wisconsin countryside where her parents run a summer stock theater company.  Actors come and go in Elsa’s life, bringing with them the lure of an outside world unknown to her.  In her teenage years a tragedy turns the family’s life upside-down, and Elsa never recovers.  She marries one of the actors in the troop and runs away with him, abandoning the stifling smallness of her rural existence.  Catching a bus to California, they make their way to Hollywood.  Elsa never looks back.

It doesn’t take long for her to be spotted by talent scouts looking for the next big star.  Elsa’s flaxen hair is dyed a rich brunette.  She’s outfitted in the most glamorous of fashions.  She’s even renamed, gracing the silver screen as Laura Lamont.  Her career takes off and soars to the greatest heights imaginable.  Discarding the bit-actor husband she met in her parents’ theater, she marries a studio big-wig and assumes a whole new life and identity. 

Alas, the fairy tale is too good to be true.  “Happily ever after” isn’t in the cards for Laura Lamont.  What started out as the perfect dream life becomes awash with disappointments.  Rediscovering the resilience she knew as Elsa Emerson, Laura soldiers.  For more “make it or break it” show biz stories there’s Fallen Beauty by Edna Robuck and Lisa See’s China Dolls.

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