Thursday, August 30, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody and Giveaway!

Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Publisher: Medallion Press 
Page Count: 299
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Innovative Online Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

“Hollywood died on me as soon as I got here. Welles said that, not me, but damn if he didn’t nail it, you know?” 

Sam Bateman came to Hollywood to settle a score, but amidst the sunny and 75, his plans went astray. Everything changed the day he drank in the intoxicating legend of Meyer Holden, the greatest screenwriter Hollywood has ever known, the one who pulled a Salinger and walked away. Holden now tacks pseudonyms onto his works and buries them in the bottomless sea of spec that is Hollywood’s development process. They’re out there for anyone to find—but at what cost? In his quest, Bateman severs all ties and sinks into a maddening world of bad writing and flawed screenplays. Paranoid and obsessive, the belligerent savant encounters an eccentric cast of characters — each with an agenda—in his search for the one writer in Hollywood who does not want to be found.

Phil Brody’s The Holden Age of Hollywood is at once a detective novel, an unexpected love story, and a provocative exposé of a broken industry. With dark humor and incisive commentary, the novel immerses readers in a neo-noir quest to attain the Hollywood dream, integrity intact.
What Stephanie Thinks: The essence of Hollywood cinema—the omnipresent and growing monster that constitutes it—is captured perfectly in Brody's observant, almost journalistic, novel. Sam Bateman's voice is strong, the perfect balance of humor, self-depreciation with an ironic tinge of haughtiness, and stunning insight, so I give Brody kudos for that, but I wasn't too fond of the actual flow of the book.

Mostly it's because there's hardly any interaction. Brody's certainly got a way with words and is able to demonstrate Bateman's thinking process and immediate activities (i.e. his mission to find the next Holden ticket), but the lack of dialogue, the lack of actual progress, makes it kind of a boring read. Don't get me wrong; as a whole, I did enjoy The Holden Age of Hollywood because I love the concept of the hidden scripts of genius, as well as a wronged man's journey to find it. I can't say I've ever read a book as creative yet at the same time, raw, as this one. But the plot structure and slow headway make it a less-than-fabulous read.

The style, I like. Brody has potential, some of which is displayed in his debut novel. The plot itself is decent too, with messages that play out well, including those regarding determination, the everpresent conceptual death and dying of Hollywood, as well as the power of intimacy and love. My verdict: good? Yes. Great? Not really. The Holden Age of Hollywood is a novel about discovery, about self-indictment and self-approval with an obscure tone and penetrating wisdom. With a bit of work, such as the rearrangement of certain events, the cut of some of the footnotes/historical pieces that drag on, and copyediting, it might be more enjoyable, but I think for the most part, my judgment would regardless remain the same.
Stephanie Loves: "He drinks, spews this advice: 'Write what you know.' Leaning in close, he whispers, 'And write what you know will get you laid ... Seriously, though, make it unique. Don't be bothered if some people don't like it. Simply find the one person who loves it.'— I think this is the perfect essence of what writing is, what it should be, conveyed eloquently with a dash of vulgarity and a tragic sense of humor.

Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

Giveaway!

Thanks to the author and IO Book Tours, one $30 Amazon gift card will given away tour-wide. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below: