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  • A Very Good, Amusing Read

    I Lost My Girlish Laughter really caught my attention with its bewitching, curious title and eye-catching cover. This book was originally written in the late 1930’s and is considered a lost gem. It is a ribbing of the actors, producers, writers, and directors of the Golden Age of the studio system. The plot and timeline are pretty tight, mostly centring around the filming of a high-profile blockbuster. Madge Lawrence, from New York City, lands a job as the personal secretary to the powerful Hollywood producer Sidney Brand (based on the legendary David O. Selznick). Brand is hoping that the film will be the catalyst to introduce his new European bombshell (the real-life Marlene Dietrich) even though she can't act. Brand's negotiations aren't proving to be very successful; his attempts to secure Clark Gable for the male lead aren't going to plan, and the Broadway play he's bought for the screenplay has been reworked so that it is unrecognisable to its author. High marks for the author, Jane Allen as it's really well written, mainly in the form of letters and telegrams; letters from Madge to her family and snippets of her personal journal, bestrewn with telegrams, press releases and more. The reader is privy to all of the shenanigans, romances, backroom deals, and betrayals that go into making a movie. Whilst I Lost My Girlish Laughter is not the most compelling story I have ever read, the result is still very readable and amusing. If you love old films that are the original stories and not mostly special effects, you will enjoy this great book. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

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