Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter Norah retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own.
Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a star turn, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, her grip on reality grows fitful and, fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime.
Her mother’s protector, Norah understands the destructive love that binds an actress to her audience, but also the strength that an actress takes from her art. Once the victim of a haunting crime herself, Norah eventually becomes a writer, wife, and mother, finding her way to her own hard-won joy. Actress is a book about the freedom we find in our work and in the love we make and keep.
“… the war was won and it was all marvelous. The town was full of men. Pleasance wore diamante bracelets over white evening gloves and kept her cigarette holder angled high. Hunger kept them slim.”
DNF @ 50 pages
After reading the synopsis, I thought one of two things was going to happen and I realize now that those two things are huge shoes to fill. I thought that I was going to find another Irish author to gush over like I do with Sally Rooney or find an old Hollywood book that could hold a candle to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. That definitely puts a lot of pressure on a book and I think those comparisons may have held me back.
This just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I just didn’t feel anything while reading those few pages. It saddens me that I didn’t love this book. But maybe it wasn’t the right time to read this.
I guess these dirty little secrets weren’t anything to brag about…