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I realize this won t be a popular review as I don t seem to share popular opinion on this one I m giving this a three because it s very well written as far as prose telling vs showing descriptions not too much or too little emotion adequate I felt in the scenes I just didn t like the story itself, nor the heroine We re all a bit dumb and easy to push around when we re young and this woman is a mere 17 when the book opens and is forced into many real life situations she s not ready for.But a little over 3 4 into the story, I just plain got sick and tired of it all, the back and forth with Chuck, the mother making all Harlean s decisions, the inability of this little bombshell to stick up for herself and say, No, I won t pay all your bills for you, MOMMIE Having read A Touch of Stardust A Novel I enjoyed the tidbits and fun facts about the actors actresses involved in the movie, about the creating of the scenes This novel didn t have that It just flitted quickly from one movie to the next giving us very little of the movie making process and the other actors actresses I d have appreciated about the movie business, less of the Harlean Mommie wars and Harleen Chuck wars.But that s just me. Find my full review at s something fascinating to me about peaking behind the glamour and spectacle of the golden age of Hollywood and seeing the grit, disappointment and sacrifice hidden beneath I haven t read a book yet or seen a movie set during this unique time and place that doesn t highlight the hardships that come with the privileged life those that make it come to experience This can sometimes come across to me as poor me, I m so rich and sad , but that isn t the case at all with Anne Girard s Platinum Doll In this lovely novel of the life of Jean Harlow the reader is thrust into the heart and mind of this complex and incredibly admirable woman and made to truly appreciate all she did to make her dreams come true Right off the bat I have to say that I absolutely LOVE Girard s depiction of Harlean, aka Jean Harlow I didn t know very much about her before, but from the very beginning I knew I was going to like her She starts off as this bookish teen that was so vivacious, loving and full of hope for what the future could hold that it was completely infectious Watching her tentatively go after this exciting new adventure in Hollywood and realize at such a young age 17 that she can be a wife, daughter and actress was inspiring, even as I knew it couldn t last I ached for both her and her husband as they struggled to find their footing in a world where they had very different expectations for the future and I kept hoping they would find a way to get the help they needed and make it work, even with the villain in my opinion of the story doing everything in her power to push them apart Coming to this villain, it has been a while since I ve disliked a character as much as I did Harlean s mom, Jean yes, they were both Jean Harlow once Harlean made it her stage name, but Anne Girard does a remarkable job of keeping the reader from getting confused between the two Mama Jean is just vile to me, being as manipulative, greedy and pig headed as one could imagine The only real character flaw I found in Harlean was her inability to stand up to her mother and willingness to forgive her, again and again, when she knew full well the horrible things her mother had done and the unbelievable lengths she went to to make Harlean the star her mother never had the chance to be However, it must be noted that I don t think I would have such strong feelings about this character if I didn t care so much for Harlean, and I also don t think she would have become the woman she did without the trials she faced that were influenced by her mother s actions As Harlean ages she matures and is determined to make a life for herself as well as her family despite the various challenges thrown at her, and how can I not admire that While Harlean, her husband, Chuck, and Harlean s mother and step father are the central figures of this story, I would be remiss if I didn t mention that so many other exciting people walk through and make there marks as well We get to meet Clara Bow, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes, Louis B Mayer and so many I ve always had a pretty big crush on Clark Gable and that feeling is definitely cemented with his depiction in Platinum Doll With so many names coming and going through the story, some I was already familiar with and some that were new to me, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking through old pictures of all these fascinating people and then going back and visualizing them within the story This is one of my favorite things about historical fiction and the fact that Girard had me continually mesmerized by these people really speaks to her abilities to bring these people back to life Aside from the incredibly fleshed out characters, the vibrant setting was just as captivating to me Girard absolutely brings this world to life from the homes in Beverly Hills to the Brown Derby and Cocoanut Club to Grauman s Chinese Theatre and I had no problem picturing myself right there with the stars even though I have never been there It is such an awe inspiring setting and was the perfect background to while away the hours.Platinum Doll is perfect historical fiction, brimming with alluring real life characters and settings filled in with drama, emotion and language that fills in the gaps that history has long forgotten or wouldn t have documented Whether you re new to Jean Harlow s story as I was or already quite familiar with her, I think there is so much to love within these pages Highly recommended DOWNLOAD ♎ Platinum Doll ♷ Set Against The Dazzling Backdrop Of Golden Age Hollywood, Novelist Anne Girard Tells The Enchanting Story Of Jean Harlow, One Of The Most Iconic Stars In The History Of FilmIt S The Roaring Twenties And Seventeen Year Old Harlean Carpenter McGrew Has Run Off To Beverly Hills She S Chasing A Dream To Escape Her Small, Midwestern Life And See Her Name In LightsIn California, Harlean Has Everything A Girl Could Want A Rich Husband, Glamorous Parties, Socialite Friends Except An Outlet For Her Talent But Everything Changes When A Dare Pushes Her To Embrace Her True Ambition To Be An Actress On The Silver Screen With Her Timeless Beauty And Striking Shade Of Platinum Blond Hair, Harlean Becomes Jean Harlow And As She S Thrust Into The Limelight, Jean Learns That This New World Of Opportunity Comes With Its Own Set Of Burdens Torn Between Her Family And Her Passion To Perform, Jean Is Forced To Confront The Difficult Truth That Fame Comes At A Price, If Only She S Willing To Pay It Amid A Glittering Cast Of Ingenues And Hollywood Titans Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel And Hardy, Howard Hughes, Platinum Doll Introduces Us To The Star Who Would Shine Brighter Than Them All I ve longed admired Jean Harlow There s just something about her that is mesmerizing and infectious She was someone who seemed to glow from within While I am no expert and haven t seen all her films, I still have an idea of who she might have been I was so excited for the opportunity to read Platinum Doll, but as I was reading, the thrill decreased until it was gone.Ms Girard s portrayal of Jean Harlow, born Harlean Harlow Carpenter, is hollow, naive and full of wide eyed wonder at everything While I will buy the latter two to a certain degree, I can t help feeling that Harlean was savvier and in control than described in the book She never grew in the book, and yes there was lip service that she had, but it wasn t felt Everything seemed to fall into her lap or it was dumb luck It never felt that Harlean had much gumption or incentive to go for it Now that s not something I believe is true Someone who takes on a dare, dyes her hair a shocking platinum blonde, and defies a controlling mother when she elopes isn t a person who stands back and allows things to happen to her No, she makes them happen.As for the plot, well, most of it is devoted to her first marriage with Charles Chuck McGrew, which was unfortunate as it was boring and redundant with basically the same thing happening over and over again Yawn Her mother, Jean Harlow, was shown as your typical stage mother, which I don t doubt she was, but I would also guess that their mother daughter relationship was deeper and complicated than that written Not much is told about her work, just brief glimpses and mentions Part of the problem was that it was just basic a to b to c telling Change the names and certain circumstances and this could be about any ingenue in the 20s and 30s.I could go in depth, but the book didn t so why should I I wish I d passed on Platinum Doll and watched the glamorous Jean Harlow at work or read a biography about her instead I appreciate what the author tried to do, but the attempt failed to bring to life the vivacity of this fascinating woman 2.5 stars A beautifully told story about Jean Harlow, the original blond bombshell, and the romantic era of Hollywood. Strong 3.5A novel about Jean Harlow early in her career The book focused on her first marriage, which I found very interesting The book ended just as Harlow was a superstar I have read a lot of books about old Hollywood and I remember reading that Harlow was pretty well liked, especially among the crews because she seems to have been pretty down to earth, but I don t think she was as naive as she is portrayed here The relationship with her mother is interesting and stands up to what I have read Everyone may have loved Baby, Harlows nickname, but they all hated her mother I enjoyed the book, a quick read. I know someone whose grandfather worked as a makeup artist in MGM and he said the most beautiful actress he had ever seen, after working there almost all his life, was Harlow Look at how the stars tear up at the Harlow segment of When a Lion Roars or the tributes included about her in Loy s book she think her mother killed her and Roz Russell s book doesn t think her mom killed her, but wasn t a fan And Eve Golden s biography on her Platinum Girl is one of the greatest biographies ever Look at all the great movies she made 42 movies before she died so young at 25 , many elevated to greatness solely by her presence, or if not great, exciting to watch, starting with one of my favorite movies Red Headed Woman to her stealing the show at Dinner at Eight It s strange too, after being in a series of clunkers like Secret Six where she s stiff and ungainly, to destroying the scenery in Red Headed Woman and a lot of stars made that kind of abrupt genesis see Bette Davis from her many terrible early films to Of Human Bondage This book doesn t really go into that instead of all the things it could go into with Harlow, it chooses, intentionally, to focus on her marriage with her first husband Jean Harlow, for all her trashy image, was actually an upperclass girl from Missouri, who went to boarding schools and was a debutante She married orphan with issues that has a huge trust fund at 16 and they run off to Hollywood As much as I am a fan of all things Harlow, I just didn t find the first husband bit very interesting It felt a little cliched ridden, with Harlow s monster of a mother pulling strings with Harlow unwilling to make waves or fight back against the relentless push to celebrity I wish this book was a bit like The Chaperone, a novel I think that best captured the early 20s, that I think went beyond the superficiality into something deeper How all of Harlow s future loves pop up so early Powell, Rosson, and Bern also felt a bit hammy People say things like My world is lots of heartbreak, over ice, easy on the introspection and epithets like doll drip on every page I both see and like the author s enthusiasm and interest in both her subject, and the breezed over part in Harlow s life the abovementioned first hubby but I ultimately wanted In a way, it would have been interesting perhaps to had used different voices the scheming terrible mother, the gigolo step dad, etc I think that device would have helped a lot Since I ve been reading lots of Auntie Mame this week, I thought back to Roz s first encounter with Harlow I was close to Jean Harlow I loved her, and oh she was a stunning creature I remember sitting under a hair dryer in a beauty parlor one day, and sitting next to me was a child, also under a dryer She was wearing shorts, and her little baby legs perfectly formed, rested against the back of her chair while the nails of her little baby hands were being manicured My word, I thought, a ten or eleven year old kid having that bright red polish put on, and suddenly the hood of the dryer went back and the child stood up and it was Jean She was probably twenty three at the time but without make up and no eyebrows, she looked exactly like a little kid. I know next to nothing about Jean Harlow and this sounded sort of like Hollywood meets The Great Gatsby so I was super excited to read it Girard s writing style impressed me right away A book like this needs some sparkle and glamour when it comes to the writing style.it is a book set in Hollywood after all.and her writing style was just that, full of colorful descriptions, elegant dialogue and interesting characters.I especially liked coming in contact with other Hollywood film stars characters throughout the book, it really added glamour for me The only thing I struggled with at times when it came to characters was Harlean Jean herself There were times that I felt she was a little idealistic and naive..on one hand it didn t bother me that bad because she was so young when she first came to Hollywood but at the same time I expected a little growth with her character throughout the book than what I got Because of the lack of this I struggled to some degree to identify and connect with her character.While at times I struggled with Harlean s character, overall I enjoyed the book itself and I loved the whole Hollywood, golden era setting I especially liked how Girard depicted the relationship between her and husband, Chuck McGrew It wasn t a perfect relationship by any stretch of the measure but it s clear that there is love between them and I thought that Girard highlighted their love exceptionally well.One thing that really stood out for me was the authenticity of the language dialogue in the book Sometimes when people write historical fiction, it s easy to slip in a few modern phrases or terms by mistake..but with Girard she stayed true to the period when it came to the characters and dialogues She used words like swell and keen which I thought were perfect within the time period I loved all of Girard s descriptions and how the story unfolded If you are looking to fall into the world of old Hollywood, then this is a great option See my full review here 3.75 Stars PLATINUM DOLL is a novel based on actress Jean Harlow s rise to fame during the Golden Age of Hollywood In the late 1920s, she goes to California as a teenage bride from the Midwest The book follows her turbulent marriage to Chuck McGrew, and the struggles she had with her ruthless mother who pushed and pushed an acting career, not always having her best interest at heart.I enjoy reading about this era, and this book presents an intriguing and well researched slice of life of a promising Golden Age starlet I liked the author s portrayal of Jean Harlow part blonde bombshell, part book nerd though I wish she would ve had of a backbone when it came to her mother It was fun watching the clips referenced in the book, especially the Laurel Hardy short Double Whoopee The pacing was slow in spots, but overall it was a swell read, as Jean would say Disclosure I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Find this and other reviews at first experience with author Anne Girard took place in 2014 when I read Madame Picasso The book impressed me and played a large part in prompting my interest in Platinum Doll I knew next to nothing about Jean Harlow when offered an advanced reader s edition of the book, but I love old Hollywood and knew I d enjoyed Girard s style of writing Long story short, I accepted the offer and quickly lost myself in Girard s interpretation of Jean s story The narrative itself follows Jean s life from 1927 to 1932, covering the course of her marriage to Charles Chuck McGrew and the rise of her professional career Girard emphasizes the tumultuous relationship of a young couple who don t see eye to eye and a domineering mother who is hell bent on vicariously living her dreams through the success of her only child Historically, I found the novel illuminating, but I feel the strength of the narrative is in Girard s illustration of these relationships and the emotion turmoil they create in Jean.Chuck was a hard character for me personally, but my struggle to appreciate him highlighted how realistically he d been written There is a painful authenticity to him, but at the end of the day I felt his character added much to the narrative I found Mother Jean equally difficult and on than one occasion I found myself wishing someone would slap her across the face, but even here, I felt Girard s ability to manipulate my emotions spoke to her abilities as a storyteller Last, but certainly not least, I found Jean both complex and endearing Her personality is sweet and I felt the candid nature of Girard s illustration inviting There is a certain ambiguity to her professional motivations, but I greatly appreciated her character just the same Atmospherically I think the novel quite fun Girard takes her readers into the offices of Howard Hughes, onto the back lots of MGM, and into the famed glamour of The Brown Derby Several golden age and silent film star enjoy cameo roles in the narrative, but I felt the most notable were those minor scenes featuring Clark Gable Unlike Harlow, I ve studied the actor, and saw a spark in Girard s rendering of his personality and persona.When all is said and done, I feel the time I spent with this piece rewarding Platinum Doll is a striking and poignant illustration of a remarkable young woman An irresistible novel that effortlessly evokes the glamour and sophistication of Hollywood during its Golden Age.