These days many of us wish we could put our children and grandchildren under a protective shield as we send them out into a word where much evil exists. We want to surround them with safety, never fearful, but now we find that such a case is fraught with danger and jeopardy. Jan and I decided to read this book and found it to be a clear indictment against those who prey upon our children. As grandparents with young grandchildren, we worry about the world we are sending these children into. Will they be prepared and can a parent prepare them without frightening their child into not wanting to go out their front door? We were both very happy to have read this story and do recommend it.
At the height of her fame, Grace Turner was a young up-and-coming Hollywood star when she disappeared, leaving it all behind. Holding onto an explosive secret and battling addictions, she hides out at her parent’s home in Anaheim for a year. Now, at age 23, she’s back and ready to confront her demons and get her life back. But the road is long and winding with many bumps along the way.
Discovered at 13, then groomed and made into a star by producer Able Yorke, Grace was a child who was not protected by her parents or the adults in her life. Able was a wolf in sheep‘s clothing, someone so powerful that not one person questioned what was happening as she was manipulated and abused in every way. She learned she couldn’t trust anyone, least of all herself.
This sounds like another somewhat tired #MeToo trope but it is not. The author began her book before the movement began and purposefully did not make it into a story for the movement. This could easily have been a formulaic story but is not.
I applaud the author for not detailing the intimate details of the abuse, focusing instead on Grace’s emotional damage, her struggles, and her lack of healthy coping skills. The author clearly did her research.
Able stole her childhood and she became emotionally stuck at the age the abuse started. She was maddeningly immature and self-absorbed one minute, while charming and sweet the next (like most teens). She lacked basic skills yet so desired to be “normal”. Grace was sympathetic, captivating, and real to me. I was so emotionally invested in her story that I simply could not put the book down, and read it in two sittings.
I didn’t think the world needed another “abuse” book, but I was wrong. Judging by the sheer number of passages I highlighted on my kindle, what really sets this book apart is the smart writing and the deep dive into Grace’s psyche as she tries to put her life back together. Heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful, this is the book I’ve been searching for all year. It completely sucked me in from the first page to the last. If I wanted to be nitpicky, I could have done without the epilogue, but it in no way detracts from my love of this book.
Highly recommended! I purposefully went light on plot in this review because details are best discovered by the reader. But this ticked all my boxes: character-driven, smart writing, engaging characters, and psychological insights. What an amazing debut!
This was a fun buddy read with my friend Marialyce, one we both enjoyed.
How many of us have dreamed of being a star, of the fame and fortune list of people who we look to for being gorgeous, being gifted, providing us with entertainment, and being sought after? Isn’t this a dream come true? To be discovered to be a Disney princess, to be adored, admired, to have everything you want at your fingertips? Yet, with all the glitter, the money, the houses, cars, and jewelry, there is an evil underside to being a star. This story takes a look at that side.
As we have seen Hollywood and the entertainment industry is filled with predators, men who seek not only control of women and girls, but also are well educated in the fact that the lights of fame glitter brightly and many are prey to their allure. These men know so well the girls to go after, the young unsophisticated, the ones who are cast adrift by parents who only see the allure of money and forget they have a child who they are supposed to protect. Witness the Weinstein, Lauer, Epstein men, plus scores of others who have not been outed but surely exist hidden in shadows with promises made and the web of deceit woven.
In this story, we meet such a girl. Grace Turner, was discovered at age 13 and started down a path that did indeed lead her to fame and fortune, but oh what a price she paid. When at the age of 23, she up and left the life that she had descended into, it’s a time for her to come face to face with the things that haunt her, the things that destroyed her, the things she has nightmares about. For Grace has been molested, not only her body but also her mind has been screwed with all courtesy of producer Able York. He holds Grace, molds her into a star, but also makes her a pawn in the sick game he plays, as he crushes and dismantles her, Grace tumbles into the world of drugs and alcohol and a marriage to a man who loves her plummets. At that point, she has nowhere to go. She decides to go home to her parents and sister. Will this be the way to start healing or will her family once again abandon her to the whiles of an evil and cruel world that Grace seems to believe is perhaps what she deserves.
Totally tragic, this story did delve into the underbelly of Hollywood, the seedy side, the side that has been hidden by glitz and glamour. It’s a tale that rings ever so true. We are well aware of the stories of Marilyn Monroe, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowen, and Lindsay Lohan, etc. One can rest assured that there are a multitude of others that have seen their lives destroyed by predators. These men come in all walks of life, they seek out the weak, the young, and those not protected by adults. This was Grace, sad destitute but with a will that tried to right the wrongs done to her. Whether she does succeed is the gist of this compelling story.
and here’s the author
Ella Berman grew up in both London and Los Angeles and worked at Sony Music before starting the clothing brand London Loves LA. She lives in London with her husband, James, and their dog, Rocky. The Comeback is her first novel, coming August 11, 2020.