A Tale of Two Cities
The Complete Short Stories
Fahrenheit 451
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Navigators of Dune
End of Watch
The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
King Henry VI, Part 3
King Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 1
King Henry IV, Part Two
King Henry IV, Part 1
Richard II
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
The Rosie Effect
On the Nature of Things
So Anyway


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Actor

The Actor
Douglas Gardham

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1475977743
ISBN - 13: 9781475977745

From the Publisher
It is 1991 when Ethan Jones finally wins the role of his dreams in an upcoming, big screen movie. With the envelope holding the script clutched in his hand, he arrives at his California apartment where he can hardly wait to tell his live-in girlfriend the exciting news. But when he finds the door unexpectedly ajar, he has no idea that in just a few seconds, the life he has fought so hard to obtain will be shattered. Eight years earlier, Ethan is attending university in Ottawa, Canada. One evening after seriously contemplating suicide, he finds his way into a club where he meets Mila Monahan, a beautiful acting student who saves him from himself. After he watches Mila rehearse a university play, Ethan catches the acting bug and decides to pursue his own creative passions, causing a collision with his more secure ideals. But when Mila suddenly disappears, Ethan vows he will never stop chasing the dream she inspired in him believing in a world entirely different from the one he is living in. The Actor is a gripping tale of rejection, hardship, tragedy, and overwhelming joy as one man embarks on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery learning to portray anything he can imagine.

Smell The Book Review
8 out of 10

Overall, the book was an enjoyable light read. I found it well written, captivating and  I was driven to find out "whodunit". The story does start out a little slower but really seems to find its legs for the last three quarters. The book is part mystery and part "I'm gonna make it in Hollywood" as it follows Ethan's efforts to make it as a big-time actor.

The time-shift back and forth with the chapters is clever as it reflects the confusion going on in Ethan's mind. There are hints earlier on in the book that things may not be exactly as they seem (Ethan has dreams of men in white coats standing at the foot of his bed) which had me looking for further clues to what may or may not be happening.

The story raises some interesting questions. How much does actual talent count for in Hollywood? (Can Schwarzenegger and Stallone actually act or is it all about personality and catch phrases?). How much should a person's past count for or against their efforts? (would we still adore George Clooney or Tom Hanks if we discovered they did porn before they were famous?). And some of the biggest questions are about how people deal with grief, loss and healing.
And now... the ending. (Isn't it always about the ending??) I debated just how to comment on the ending without some major spoilers and realized there is no way to do that. So I am not going to spoil anything here.

Read the book. It is worth the time and worth the thought and discussion that the book can inspire. Doug Gardham has hinted at a possible sequel and I would be interested to see where he takes Ethan.
This book was read by the Ottawa Book Club a few months back and Doug was kind enough to visit us to discuss this book.  Where some of his stories come from and the inspiration behind some of the names/places/occurrences in the story are very interesting. I urge you to seek him out at one of his many public appearances and talk to him!

8 out of 10.