After a very, very, very long hiatus, I’m back!
March 2018 brings the third recommendation in The Vodka in My Coffee Virtual Book Club! I’ll (try) each month to share a book I love with you.
This month’s book selection was something I picked up on a whim at my local library. While I love my Kindle for its portability, I don’t always love having to purchase books. I had let my library card expire and after a year, I recently had it renewed. Now I’m back in action reading books (and evidently adding new posts to this site!).
However, the thing about the library is it can be pretty overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, or want to read. My library, The Highland Park Public Library, does an excellent job of setting up different stations to offer recommendations. This book was in a section themed “What Local Readers Like.”
I was deciding between this book and another, both historical fiction, and ultimately this book won out because the author lives in Chicago.
The March 2018 Book Club Recommendation is…
The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin.
The Girls in the Picture tells the story of the friendship between Mary Pickford and Frances Marion. Mary Pickford was the most famous actress in the world during the silent movie era. Frances Marion was the highest paid female screenwriter during that same time. The book features cameos by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecille B. DeMille and more.
The way the friendship unfolds in the book reminded me a lot of the friendship in Beaches. Both women love and respect each other, but are also motivated by and jealous of the other. It had a hint of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” due to the aging actress storyline.
I loved learning the history of the early beginnings of the movie business and Hollywood. I really enjoyed the old Hollywood stars popping in and out of the storyline.
I appreciated the theme of female empowerment in the book. For both these women to have the power and financial success they had at that time in history was astounding. Mary Pickford’s annual salary in 1919 was $625,000, which was a fortune when you know at that time most women earned $10 a week IF they even worked. Frances Marion is considered one of the most important female screenwriters of the 20th century and was the first writer to win multiple Academy Awards. Compare this to now, when you can’t get a female director nominated for an Oscar.
This book came to me shortly after I watched the documentary “Half the Picture,” which examines the hiring practices of women directors in TV and movies.
If you like historical fiction and have an interest in old Hollywood, I definitely recommend The Girls in the Picture.
Click here to see my other Virtual Book Club Recommendations.