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January 16, 2018

Review: The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

by MK French

Frances Marion came to Los Angeles in 1914 to be an artist and was drawn to the burgeoning motion picture industry. She became friends with Mary Pickford and was drawn into the shining circle of stars at the dawn of the silent film era. She was a screenwriter, and Mary Pickford was America's Sweetheart. Their friendship and lives changed over the years as Hollywood became the system we know it today.
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THe Girls in the Picture
January 2018; Delacorte Press; 9781101886809
audio, ebook, print (448 pages)
women's fiction; biographical
This is a fictionalized account of their friendship and how the industry developed. The time period is effectively described, as are the struggles of these two women to create films and be masters of their own ideals even as there is rampant misogyny and the birth of the casting couch.

Both Mary Pickford and Frances Marion were big names in the era and helped shape the Golden Age of cinema, but I knew nothing about either of them. This portrait humanizes them both, and we clearly see the marks of fame that they struggled with.

The book spans from 1914 to 1960, but it never once felt overdone or dragged out. It was fascinating to read about their lives, as well as see the cameo appearances from all the big names of the time. This book didn't feel as long as it was, and I was almost disappointed when it ended. There was no way for the author to know if the meeting at the end of the book did happen or not, and she acknowledges that. Still, I felt like there could have been more to it, and I didn't want to put the book down. It was that terrific a read.

Buy The Girls in the Picture at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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