Thank You to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of Suzanne Redfearn's novel, No Ordinary Life, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- Estranged from her husband and struggling to make ends meet, Faye Martin decides to move away from the quite countryside to live with her mother in Los Angeles. Faye's family is forever changed, when her precocious four year old, Molly, stars in a viral Youtube video, and is discovered by a Hollywood agent. Soon, Molly is the latest child actor sensation, landing a plum role on a hit show. Can the Martin family cope with Molly's fame?
LIKE- One of the major strengths in No Ordinary Life, is Redfearns ability to create realistic and sympathetic characters. It's the type of novel, where I found myself wondering how I would react if I were in their shoes; like Faye, the mother trying to do the best for her family, or Emily, the eldest sibling who struggles to fit in at her new school and envies the fame of her younger sister. Most sympathetic, might be Molly, a little kid, who just wants to be a kid, not a brand. No Ordinary Life is loaded with cringe worthy moments and parental mistakes, but none strike a false note, keeping this tale of Hollywood excess rooted in reality.
From an entertainment standpoint, Redfearn grabbed me with her behind the scenes look at the industry. It's evident that she either has personal experience or has spent plenty of time researching the "ins and outs" of child actors and television productions. I found it fascinating.
DISLIKE- The only off-beat storyline was Faye's romance with Griff, a former child actor turned director of photography. There were too many moments where Faye was distant or did something to upset Griff, all of which Griff seemed to easily forgive. The back and forth eclipsed the moments where they had true passion and connected. I don't even remember the connection, it did not make an impact in the greater story. Griff and his protectiveness over Molly worked for me, but his relationship with Faye, did not. To be fair, Redfearn has written such a compelling family drama, with each person in the Martin family having a strong dilemma, that they overshadowed the romance storyline.
RECOMMEND- Yes. No Ordinary Life is a quick, engrossing read. It's perfect for anyone who has a fascination with Hollywood and celebrity, but also for those who like family dramas. The vibe of this book is summer-beach read, which was appreciated as I read it during a rainy, weekend in January.