Readers Say . . . .
Ms. Hammond has written a wonderful story about the pursuit of dreams, about family (born and made), and very much about consequences of all kinds. . . . .
The writing is superb as are the characterizations, but best of all is story. In this age of 15-second fame and reality TV, Ms. Hammond captures the desperation of those looking for their big break, their moment in the sun - that these are children whose parents are often as (or more) desperate than they are is what makes the book a worthwhile read. Ms. Hammond has written a book that goes on the list of favorite books about Hollywood along with The Day of the Locusts and Valley of the Dolls.
The writing was excellent and you actually started looking from the messed up eyes of Ruth, wanting her daughter to be a star so badly.I could not put this down.
I fell in love with this book from the first few chapters. The author did an excellent job of reeling you into the characters and making you feel as if you were right there along with them. It at no time felt 'unreal' to me. I actually whooped with joy when Quinn...oops almost gave it away. This book was a winner for me!!!
Hollywood is a town that hums along on a different frequency from other places; it dances to the beat of a whole different band. Surviving requires talent, drive, and a keen desire to win. Diane Hammond brings this world to Technicolor life as she draws you into the whirlwind of booking Hollywood. It is a world Diane knows well, her daughter was a child actress.
--Deon Stonehouse, owner, Sunriver Books & Music
Ruth Rabinowitz believes. She believes that her daughter Bethany is a terrific little
actress, so they have come to Hollywood, where dreams come true.
Hugh Rabinowitz, who thinks their quest for stardom is delusional,
has stayed behind in Seattle.
Joining Bethany Rabinowitz in Hollywood's often toxic waters are fellow child actors
Quinn Reilly, who has been cast adrift by his family and excels only on Hollywood sets;
beautiful Allison Addison, who is misled by her powerful need for love; and Laurel Buehl,
who brings a desperate secret to LA that makes the stakes impossibly high. As talent managers,
agents, coaches, directors and teachers nurture—and feed on—their ambitions, stars will
be made, hearts will be broken, children will grow up, and dreams will both be realized and die.
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Read a review in Publisher's Weekly
Seeing Stars, the story of four child and teen actors seeking fame in Hollywood, was inspired by the two years my own family spent in Hollywood supporting our teenage daughter as she pursued a professional acting career. While Stars is not autobiographical, I certainly relied heavily on the things I saw, heard and discovered while we were there. And while upon returning to Oregon we had few regrets besides leaving good friends behind, I will always be grateful for the amazing, exhilarating, alarming and transformative experience those years proved to be for all three of us.
Stars addresses many of the real-world issues and obsessions shared by most young actors and the families that love and support them: ambition, talent, drive, guts, hard work, justice, injustice, and more than a small measure of luck. It also explores the roles that adults inevitably play in the lives of child actors—the parents of other child actors, as well as photographers, managers, talent agents, coaches, teachers, casting directors, movie directors and producers, and more.
In the early pages of Stars, recent Hollywood arrivals Ruth Rabinowitz and her daughter Bethany are befriended by Vee and Clara Velman, a much more seasoned mother and daughter, in a casting studio waiting room. Clara has just described with some relish being treated atrociously by the casting director for whom Bethany will soon be auditioning. Appalled, Ruth says,
“But why would they do something like that? Especially to children.”
Vee said, “There’s your first mistake. They’re not children. They’re job applicants. You’re new here, aren’t you?”
“It shows that much?”
Vee reached over and patted Ruth’s hand. “Yeah. But enjoy that naiveté, honey, because when it wears off you’re going to want to start drinking.”
This notion of employability, mixed with superheated competitiveness, is at the heart of what makes the world of child actors so ripe with opportunities for things to go seriously wrong. Children hold the keys to their parents’ futures rather than the other way around, and normal notions of parenting often go out the window.
And what could be more interesting than that? Thus, Seeing Stars.