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Platinum Doll 375 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 heartI 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 “In spite of her newfound celebrity Harlean still believed herself to be the property of others a circumstance from which she longed to break free” ― Anne Girard Platinum Doll35 starsI enjoyed reading about Jean Harlow I knew very little about her before I read this book although my parents are always commenting on her beauty and stage presenceThe book takes you through Jean's life from her attempting to break into Hollywood to her success to her tension filled relationship with her husbandAs much as I enjoyed the book it was a difficult read for me because so much of what took place in the book was about Jean's marriage Ultimately the aspects of the book that I really found compelling were when her husband was less a part of the story as I enjoyed reading about Jean's rise to the topIt was very informative reading as like I said I am a newbie to anything related to Jean Harlow I also loved the lush glamorous atmosphere which the writer recreated very well It does feel like you are in that time periodWhile not my favorite book in the world this was a fun read and I'd recommend it 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 uickly 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 JeanChuck 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 eually 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 uite 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 personaWhen 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 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 goneMs 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 happenAs 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 motherdaughter 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 30sI 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 25 stars Strong 35A 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 uick read 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 uniue 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 hoursPlatinum 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 uite familiar with her I think there is so much to love within these pages Highly recommended 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 A beautifully told story about Jean Harlow the original blond bombshell and the romantic era of Hollywood 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 HarlowI 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 styleit is a book set in Hollywood after alland her writing style was just that full of colorful descriptions elegant dialogue and interesting charactersI especially liked coming in contact with other Hollywood film starscharacters throughout the book it really added glamour for me The only thing I struggled with at times when it came to characters was HarleanJean herself There were times that I felt she was a little idealistic and naiveon 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 characterWhile 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 wellOne thing that really stood out for me was the authenticity of the languagedialogue in the book Sometimes when people write historical fiction it’s easy to slip in a few modern phrases or terms by mistakebut 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 optionSee my full review here

  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • Platinum Doll
  • Anne Girard
  • English
  • 27 April 2016
  • 9780778318668

About the Author: Anne Girard

Diane Haeger who currently writes as Anne Girard is a bestselling author of 15 novels most of them based on real historical figures Since the publication of her acclaimed first novel Courtesan in 1993 which remains in print today she has traveled extensively These research trips have taken her from the romantic halls of a French chateau and the haunting courts and chambers of Henry VIII