My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am a big fan of old movies, and I’ve seen Mary Pickford in a few, therefore I was familiar with her prior to this book. However, I never heard of screenwriter Frances Marion. Well, not until a few days ago. And while reading the book (and doing my Wikipedia research) I learned that Frances Marian wrote many scripts to the movies I’ve seen and loved. Melanie Benjamin did an amazing job with this novel. Not only I enjoyed learning about female empowerment in early Hollywood days, but I also learned a lot about the movie industry. Well, not all from this book, but I researched every interesting detail I read in this novel. That is another reason why it took me longers than usual to read and finish this gem.
The book concentrates on a friendship of Hollywood “power couple”, and no, I do not mean the first queen and king of Hollywood Mary Pickford and her second husband Douglas Fairbanks. I am talking about Mary Pickford and Frances Marion. And you will understand the meaning of it during the last chapter. Thru the book, we learn that their friendship survived their separate successes, broken marriages, and family losses. While both girls were a complete opposite of each other, their connection was strong. Opposite attracts, doesn’t it?
The story in the book is being told by Frances and Mary in chronological order. Each character explains their view of the certain events/situations. While Frances is a strong character from the beginning, Mary is portraited as a weaker one. Even thru this book is fiction, it was good to learn what drove Mary Pickford into the state she remained during the last years of her life.
It’s a great read, wonderful story of friendship, women empowerment, and early days of cinematography.