Crystal Smith Paul

Författare till Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?

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Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? (2023) 322 exemplar


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"There are two types of people in this world, Mary: people with time to sit under the trees, looking up at the sky and pondering life... and those who end up hanging from those same trees, looking down on the life they might have had, had they been born different. You were born different, by the grace of God, so you get to choose." (p. 52)

I was very hopeful for this book. Although not completely original, the description of the book had all the ingredients for a novel that would tackle issues of race, fame, birthright, and family... just to name a few. Would it answer questions such as "At what price Hollywood?" and "What is racial identity? What does it mean to be Black/White?"

I say this because this debut novel promised to mix elements of "Passing" by Nella Larsen, "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, and "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid as well as "A Star is Born" from the fresh voice of Crystal Smith Paul.
Unfortunately, poor editing, problems with continuity, and flat characters made it a disappointing BOTM selection.
I will give some examples.
1. Confusing/ poorly written lines:
"Elise never went to sleep, and she wasn't the only one." (p. 1.) That evening? Habitually?

"Nathan had been obsessed with his wife and never embraced her professional life outside of acting," (p. 90) What does that mean? It is never explained.

"Some said she stared, but if you knew her, you understood her interest was a compliment- most people she just looked right through." (p. 352) Huh?

Taking water from the filtered tap... (OK, we know they are rich. Of course, the water is filtered.)

"Elise was, however, the most unusual-looking of the trio, with eyes that changed from dark blue with her moods. They'd been steel gray for weeks now, unenthused by life." (p. 10) Was Elise unenthused, or were her eyes unenthused?

2. Continuity- many instances but I do not want to spoil the story, so I will provide minor examples:
On one page the character is wearing a dress with a lace collar, but on the next, she is adjusting her suit jacket. I know this seems silly to point out, but it occurs over and over and is distracting.
As well as:
"Elise never went to sleep, and she wasn't the only one."
"Sara slept so much Elise had usually felt compelled to check on her..." Wait..what?

3. Grammar mistakes:
"My momma raised Laurie and I up in the same way..." (p. 211)
"They met every week to trade information, organize and fellowship." (p. 235)
"How does her gifting her estate to my sisters and I seem like coercion?" (p. 372) This one had two errors! Yikes!!

4. Unrealistic or confusing story beats... I can't include examples unless I include spoilers... but I did make a note of them! (For instance the whole concept of the Blair House was hard to buy into., and all the machinations were hard to follow) This kept me looking back through the book to clarify the facts/timeline in the story.

One, thing, in particular, is confusing... Nathan and Kitty work on "The Misfits", a movie by Telescope Pictures, a fictional studio. Perhaps the author and editors did not know that this is the name of a real movie, released in 1961, written by Arthur Miller, and directed by John Huston, starring both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable (the last films for both stars). I kept thinking that this would develop into a relationship between Kitty Karr and Marilyn Monroe or Clark Gable.

5. Flat characters... Elise and Kitty are somewhat developed, but the rest of the characters are one-dimensional and forgettable.

Elise starts out rather shallow and does grow (a bit) but is unlikable until the end:

"with ten years of acting and five hundred million dollars in box office sales under her belt, Elis's life hadn't belonged to her in years. Sometimes the emotional restraint it took to conceal her unhappiness was just a hair away from masochism." (p. 4)

"good luck finding an available seamstress to work on an eight-thousand-dollar gown hours before the Oscars. Refusing to panic, though she was starting to sweat... she stepped out of the dress and fetched the joint from the sill of the rose window. To the surprise of the room, after lighting it she offered it to no one, not even her sisters." (p. 398)

The author game more insight into Kitty's feelings and motivations., but not always:

"Kitty had uninstalled all the overhead lights because they reminded her of being onstage. The result was a tomblike environment Kitty found comforting." (p. 89) Why? it is never explained.

6. Too much vomit.Once is unnecessary, more than once is a big turn off for me. Find another way to show that a character is upset. Need I say more?

7. It became extremely political in places, which is ok, but readers should be aware before they choose to read it. The ending seemed far-fetched, but hey, it's fiction, and in fiction, we are allowed happy endings.
"The whole thing could come crashing down...But Elise had decided weeks ago to let the chips fall where they may- to wing it. She figured the details would work themselves out. That was the American way. "(p. 401)
… (mer)
Chrissylou62 | 10 andra recensioner | Apr 11, 2024 |
I quite enjoyed this book. Lightly coloured black women passing as white was a new topic for me. The present day storyline was less interesting but loved the past storyline in 1950s Hollywood. I also loved what the organization in the past was doing to support the black community - they were an incredibly strong and ingenious group. The book was an easy read and it moved quickly eventhough some of it was predictable. Recommended for an entertaining read.
tinkerbellkk | 10 andra recensioner | Mar 16, 2024 |
Don’t waste your time. By the end of the book I didn’t care about any of the characters. I rarely give a book one star.
csobolak | 10 andra recensioner | Mar 12, 2024 |
For starters, the comparisons to "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" (which I also loved) are extremely valid. This is another "legendary Hollywood starlet of the 1960s with a mysterious past to be revealed after her passing" novel, and again, similarly to "Evelyn Hugo", has a large emphasis on social issues of the past and present. I did enjoy that the storyline was clearly planned out - there were small "Easter eggs" with mentioning a character's name in earlier chapters, only to realize their significance to the story later. But I also think it would have benefitted more from editing portions of the later chapters as it felt like it ended extremely abruptly.… (mer)
SStewart89 | 10 andra recensioner | Feb 11, 2024 |



½ 3.3

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