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My Hollywood

Mona Simpson

10 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A wonderfully provocative, but also tender and witty novel that has received stunning praise in the US.

A wonderfully provocative and appealing novel, from the much-loved author of Anywhere But Here, her first in ten years. It tells the story of two women whose lives entwine and unfold behind the glittery surface of Hollywood.

Claire, a composer and a new mother, comes to LA so her husband can follow his passion for writing television comedy. Suddenly the marriage-once a genuine 50/50 arrangement-changes, with Paul working long hours and Claire left at home with a baby, William, whom she adores but has no idea how to care for.

Lola, a fifty-two-year-old mother of five who is working in America to pay for her own children's higher education back in the Philippines, becomes their nanny. Lola stabilizes the rocky household and soon other parents try to lure her away. What she sacrifices to stay with Claire and "Williamo" remains her own closely guarded secret.

In a novel at turns satirical and heartbreaking, where mothers' modern ideas are given practical overhauls by nannies, we meet Lola's vast network of fellow caregivers, each with her own story to tell. We see the upstairs competition for the best nanny and the downstairs competition for the best deal, and are forced to ask whether it is possible to buy love for our children and what that transaction costs us all.

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Praise for My Hollywood

  • Step into the glittering lives of Hollywood America, as scrubbed, wiped and polished by immigrant women. It's so refreshing that a book can be this poignant, satirical and heartbreaking at once. You might find yourself laughing at your own life as you read what the help says and thinks behind the backs of American housewives. You'll wonder at the intricate system of the modern household-where one mother pays another to give her children love. It illuminates the differences between American and immigrant mothers-until you realize how alike we are! The vivid accents and the vibrant voices of the children continue to ring in my ear. I loaned it to my mom and she took it to Mississippi with her and won't send it back. I'll be buying a copy of my own.

  • Simpson's massive gifts - for unflinching precision, for artful indirection and for the deft unfurling of imagery - are on vivid display in My Hollywood, a book that carries us down deep, into the darkness of two distinct worlds, and lights them up, finding all the comedy in the ways they are the same world, and all the tragedy in the unbridgeable distance between them. - Michael Chabon

  • A darkly beautiful atlas of the American promised land, and a definitive novel of modern domesticity. Brilliant, in short. - Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland

  • A hilarious and heartbreaking take on the real housewives of Southern California. - Marie Claire

  • always with Simpson's work, the insight and stylistic flair keep drawing you back. This novel nails

  • the post-Freudian fear that all children will return - hopefully not in the manner of Lionel Shriver's

  • Kevin - to lay the blame squarely at their parents' door. - The Independent

  • Simpson works her habitual magic, showing how love travels, ownerless and unbidden, among children who need adults, and adults who need children. - New York Times

  • My Hollywood excels in the richness of its characterization... - Time

  • Compelling and beautifully written. - The Bookseller

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Mona Simpson

MONA SIMPSON is the author of five novels, including Off Keck Road which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the Heartland Prize of the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

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