Elsa Emerson was born in Wisconsin. Her parents owned a theater and hired actors to put on plays every summer. One year she gets a bit part and is completely consumed by the acting bug. She marries at 17 and moves to California, where she is christened Laura Lamont by a studio executive. In short order, she has two kids, gets divorced and becomes a movie star.
There is, of course, so much more to the book than this. I kept picturing her as Lauren Bacall (although I’m pretty sure that she’s not supposed to be based on her), which made the book very fun.
The interesting thing about her career is that Laura Lamont was acting before there were a lot of paparazzi around, so she was able to have a pretty normal life. Granted, if she ran errands herself, she would have people surround her, but she didn’t have to worry about her life being all over magazines and newspapers. (At least, unless she WANTED to be.)
It also shows how she keeps reinventing herself. I think most of us do that, but she had to do it in front of the entire country, pretty much.
This is such a fascinating book and I hope to read more novels from Emma Straub. (I think she has one other book out now, but it’s a collection of stories.)