Book Review: "Hollywood Forever"
Harold Hall is a struggling actor – a starving nobody who dreams of nothing but becoming a legend immortalized by the iconic silver screen of Hollywood. Fired up at the DMV after getting his car impounded, he delivers an impassioned speech urging the masses – the people waiting at the DMV – to rise up and strike down the injustice of the institution. His impassioned speech falls flat, failing to stir up any rebellion.
When everything else in Harold’s life seems to be going wrong, a relationship with his beautiful neighbor Eliah starts to develop. He becomes so emotionally attached to her that he actually allows his dreams of Hollywood fame to shift slightly to accommodate a woman in his future. However, Harold and Eliah are polar opposites: she cannot stand technology and detests the concept of fame. Issues between the two arise, causing them to separate.
Despite the fact that his spur-of-the-moment performance at the DMV failed to incite anyone into action, Harold finds out that it was recorded by his audience and circulated through social media. The ordinary Harold Hall becomes an overnight sensation and manages to capture the attention of a group of Hollywood big-shots.
They present him with an enticing offer for the lead part in an unprecedented television show. Lured in by offers of fame and luxury, he accepts an offer with a huge catch – Harold must undergo plastic surgery to fit the role that he was being offered. His new face had been designed to be a composite of features taken from various revolutionary leaders.
It takes very little time – and Eliah’s reappearance in his life– for Harold to find out that this offer of a lifetime came with enormous consequences. After Harold’s makeover, the story starts to pick up enough for the reader to want to follow through to the end. Plot twists and drama add interesting details.
Once the reader is finished with the novel, it becomes apparent that this is an interesting story. However, the way in which it was written makes it difficult to discern this from the start of the book. The beginning of the novel is very slow and builds the background story in a very painstaking way; it is a challenge for the reader to reach the point in the novel where the story picks up. Some parts of the book seem irrelevant, such as the fight scene between Harold and an arrogant college student celebrating his graduation from USC at the club where Harold works.
Herz’s knowledge of and love for the city of Los Angeles is apparent in his descriptions of street names, buildings, bus numbers, and other small details concerning landmarks. He portrays an accurate description of the city in all of its sophisticated excesses as well as its dirty destitution. While all of this beautiful description adds great dimension to the story, it should have been more adequately proportioned throughout the book so that the reader does not have to wait for so long for the story to develop.
“Hollywood Forever” is a book that requires a very patient reader. It holds promise of a very interesting story, but it may be a frustrating read for those who prefer something more fast-paced.
Reach Staff Reporter Hemalatha Bhamidi here.