Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seeing Stars

Publisher's Summary. Ruth Rabinowitz believes. She believes that her daughter Bethany is a terrific little actress, so they have come to Hollywood, where dreams come true. Hugh Rabinowitz, who thinks their quest for stardom is delusional, has stayed behind in Seattle.

Joining Bethany Rabinowitz in Hollywood's often toxic waters are fellow child actors Quinn Reilly, who has been cast adrift by his family and excels only on Hollywood sets; beautiful Allison Addison, who is misled by her powerful need for love; and Laurel Buehl, who brings a desperate secret to LA that makes the stakes impossibly high. As talent managers, agents, coaches, directors and teachers nurture—and feed on—their ambitions, stars will be made, hearts will be broken, children will grow up, and dreams will both be realized and die.

Review. Everyone has a dream. And for many, Hollywood is the real field of dreams. In Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond, Ruth Rabinowitz dreams that her sweet, talented, thirteen year old daughter Bethany aka Bethy will make it big in La La land. So the supportive, but star struck Ruth and the talented, but “niche” actress Bethy leave their Seattle home, along with the loving, but emotionally unsupportive husband/father, Hugh Rabinowitz, and decamp to Hollywood to follow that dream.

Seeing Stars follows Ruth and Bethy’s ride in the Hollywood funhouse of show biz. During the day the pair travel between auditions, call backs, bookings, showcases, and acting lessons. And every night ends with Ruth's fervent prayer: “Please God, shine on my Bethany and make her a star.” Along the way, the reader is introduced to other child actor hopefuls some with more money than talent and others with equal heapings of talent and problems. In fact a few of the side characters and their storylines are vastly more compelling than Ruth’s and Bethy’s saga of “how to be nice while reaching for the brass ring and is it really worth it?”

According to Hammond, the novel was inspired by her personal experiences of living for two years in Hollywood with her actress daughter. The author’s insider’s knowledge of the terrain is amply reflected in her writing. For example, Hammond writes in the vernacular of the field: actors read “sides,” not scripts and go “off book” when they have memorized their lines. Reading Seeing Stars for the insider’s info/jargon alone makes the novel an enjoyable read.

Seeing Stars is an engrossing story of what really goes on behind closed studio doors.

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Original edition (March 23, 2010), 480 pages.
Advance review copy provided courtesy of TLC Book Tours.


  1. Kim....I was curious on this one, so I was excited to read your positive review.

    Did you realize the book cover photo is not showing?

  2. I must have lost the image, but fixed now (thanks Diane!).

  3. Hm perhaps not for me, but it still sounds like a great story

  4. I had run across a notice of this one a few days ago. Glad to hear your thoughts about it, Kim. Think it will go on my wishlist.

  5. That sounds like quite a story. What's sad is it's probably true for lots of kids - not just in acting, but in sports and other areas too.

  6. Sounds like a fascinating story, a world I'm totally unfamiliar with.

  7. Oohh...I think I would love this book for the jargon alone! I love finding out about different things, and the world of acting is particularly fascinating!

    Thanks for your review and being on this tour. :)