Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

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A Bookpage Best Books of 2012 pick

The enchanting story of a midwestern girl who escapes a family tragedy and is remade as a movie star during Hollywood’s golden age.

In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child¹s game of pretend.

While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award­-winning actress—and a genuine movie star. Laura experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.

Ambitious and richly imagined, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is as intimate—and as bigger-than-life—as the great films of the golden age of Hollywood. Written with warmth and verve, it confirms Emma Straub’s reputation as one of the most exciting new talents in fiction.
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About the author

Emma Straub is from New York City. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published by Tin House, The Paris Review Daily, Time, Slate, and The New York Times, and she is a staff writer for Rookie. Straub lives with her husband in Brooklyn, where she also works as a bookseller.
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37 total

Additional Information

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Published on
Sep 4, 2012
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Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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An enchanting first novel about love, madness, and Kenny G.

A New York Times bestseller, The Silver Linings Playbook was adapted into the Oscar-winning movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It tells the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife's betrayal.

During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.

When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year's Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their "contract." All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.

In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.
For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, fifteen, and Luna, just six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.
Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh blends gorgeous prose with compelling themes of motherhood, undocumented immigration, and the American Dream in a powerful and prescient story about family.

Praise for We Never Asked for Wings
“Deftly blends family conflict with reassurance: Wings is like Parenthood with class and immigration issues added for gravitas.”—People (Book of the Week)
“This poignant story will stay in readers’ hearts long after the last page. . . . Diffenbaugh weaves in the plight of undocumented immigrants to her tale of first- and second-generation Americans struggling to make their way in America. Moving without being maudlin, this story avoids the stereotypes in its stark portrayal of mothers who just want the best for their children.”—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
“Diffenbaugh is a storyteller of the highest order: her simple but poetic prose makes even this most classically American story sing with a special kind of vulnerable beauty.”—Bustle
“[A] gripping, heartfelt exploration of a mother’s love, resilience and redemption.”—Family Circle
“Satisfying storytelling . . . Diffenbaugh delivers a heartwarming journey that mixes redemption and optimistic insight [and] confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“I was hooked from the first breathtaking pages of We Never Asked for Wings, caring about this exquisitely vulnerable family, hoping right along with them on every page that each heart-rending, impossible choice would lead them somewhere better together.”—Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice
“Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s We Never Asked for Wings propels us into a mother’s heart as she and her family travel down a rocky path to understanding and forgiveness. With breathtaking imagery and lyrical prose, Diffenbaugh makes Letty’s growth from a troubled young mother to a responsible woman who learns to put her children first, but also allows herself the possibility of love, entirely believable. Hers is a hard-won victory you will cheer even as you wish this graceful, moving book would never end.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife

From the Hardcover edition.
“It’s ‘Friends’ meets ‘Almost Famous’ meets the beach read you’ll be recommending all summer.” –TheSkimm

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Vacationers, a smart, highly entertaining novel about a tight-knit group of friends from college— and what it means to finally grow up, well after adulthood has set in.

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.Back in the band's heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.

Straub packs wisdom and insight and humor together in a satisfying book about neighbors and nosiness, ambition and pleasure, the excitement of youth, the shock of middle age, and the fact that our passions—be they food, or friendship, or music—never go away, they just evolve and grow along with us.
Los veraneantes nos convierte en voyeurs de las vacaciones de una familia neoyorquina, cuyas vicisitudes contemplamos con algo de perverso deleite, como si se se tratara de una película de Woody Allen.

Para los Post, el viaje de dos semanas a Mallorca con su familia y amigos es una celebración: Franny y Jim cumplen treinta y cinco años de casados y su hija, Sylvia, se ha graduado en el instituto. La soleada isla, con sus playas y montañas, sus tapas y sus pistas de tenis, promete también una tregua de las tensiones propias de Manhattan.

Sin embargo, no todo resulta según lo planeado: durante las vacaciones salen a la luz algunos secretos, se experimentan nuevas y antiguas humillaciones, resurgen rivalidades de la infancia y se reabren viejas heridas.

Emma Straub, con empatía y humor, nos habla de lo que decidimos mostrar y lo que intentamos ocultar de nosotros mismos, del modo en que nos destrozamos unos a otros y volvemos a reconstruirnos, y de los lazos que en última

La crítica ha dicho...
«Una novela exquisita y fascinante. Los veraneantes ofrece todas las delicias de una amena lectura veraniega, con la trascendencia que le da el excepcional ingenio, sabiduría, inteligencia y talento de su autora.»

«Una novela magnífica. Cuando la terminé me sentí como al final de unas buenas vacaciones: agradecido por el viaje y apenado de que haya terminado.»
The New York Times

«Una novela muy amena que a la vez nos ofrece una sabia visión de los lazos matrimoniales y la condición humana.»
Kirkus Reviews

«El divertido drama doméstico-vacacional de Straub es un agudo y encantador estudio de las complejidades de la familia y el amor.»

«El ritmo es trepidante y los personajes, genuinos, complejos e interesantes.»
Publishers Weekly

«Straub ha creado la mejor historia del verano, una historia que deja muy buen sabor de boca.»
The Washington Post

«Emma Straub sabe descubrir el humor en la disfuncionalidad.»
San Francisco Chronicle

«No hay nada más adictivo que el humor negro del drama de una familia disfuncional. Una lectura de verano perfecta.»
Entertainment Weekly

«Una novela cómica, psicológicamente astuta.»
The Boston Globe

«Una divertida y conmovedora montaña rusa.»
The Miami Herald

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