About the Book:
A deep dive into the psyche of a young actress raised in the spotlight under the influence of a charming, manipulative film director and the moment when she decides his time is up.
At the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, teen star Grace Turner disappeared.
Now, tentatively sober and surprisingly numb, Grace is back in Los Angeles after her year of self-imposed exile. She knows the new private life she wants isn’t going to be easy as she tries to be a better person and reconnect with the people she left behind.
But when Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke—the man who controlled her every move for eight years—she realizes that she can’t run from the secret behind her spectacular crash and burn for much longer. And she’s the only one with nothing left to lose.
Alternating between past and present, The Comeback tackles power dynamics and the uncertainty of young adulthood, the types of secrets that become part of our sense of self, and the moments when we learn that though there are many ways to get hurt, we can still choose to fight back.
“I know that somebody hurt you. Now it’s time for you to f**k shit up, baby lion.”
Gripping and SO timely!
Immensely readable, ‘The Comeback’ is both a cautionary tale of the dangers of fame and stardom and a story for the #MeToo era. Incredibly emotional and gripping, Ella Berman tells the story of Grace Turner, who was plucked from at a young age from a normal, quiet life in England to star in a Hollywood blockbuster. The director, Able Yorke, is brilliant but manipulative and immediately persuades Grace’s parents to relocate to California with their daughter. The whole family is suddenly uprooted, an act which in and of itself will have negative repercussions for Grace for years to come. The power balance in her family shifts, which is too much of a burden for any young teen to handle. Grace’s younger sister resents her and Grace begins a very difficult relationship with her own mother.
“I doubted myself and everyone around me, but rarely Able. Everyone had told me about this precious gift, so I took it.”
I will never again criticize young actors or musicians who are in the spotlight. The public never knows what goes on behind the scenes and whether or not the star is being manipulated or taken advantage of. Grace’s story is told in flashbacks, unfolding from her early days in Hollywood to the present time. She is only in her early 20’s but already has a failed marriage and a very public addiction to deal with. What happened that made Grace burn out so brightly? Why did Grace disappear almost overnight from Hollywood? Ella Berman has written a very biting and observant story, slowly revealing the shocking turn of events that almost destroyed Grace.
“What I couldn’t have predicted was how people would want more and more of me; I didn’t yet know how closely praise is linked to punishment, how I would never again determine my own value because I wasn’t so much a person as an idea, shaped not only by the people around the table with me that night but by the millions of people who would pay to watch my movies in the years to come.”
‘The Comeback’ is at times a very uncomfortable read and the author does not sugarcoat the life of a young Hollywood star. Grace becomes famous at such a young age that she only has Able to turn to. He makes it seems as though he is the only one who truly understands her and can truly help her. Her parents step back and she really has no other adults in her life, other than her agent and manager, to care for her. She turns to drugs and alcohol as a way to numb the pain and uses sarcasm to push everyone away.
Grace finally realizes that she will die if she does not confront what happened to her. This is an astounding book by Ella Berman and while at times very dark, it is a sharp look inside Hollywood and the pressures of film-making and stardom. I love that all Grace truly wanted was to act, and to avoid all the falseness that surrounds being a “celebrity.”
Able Yorke is one of the most vile fictional characters I have come across. The way he groomed Grace was absolutely despicable. The only reason this was not a 5 star read for me was that I felt the ending was a little too abrupt. I still highly recommend this book, and applaud Ella Berman for writing such a perceptive and sensitive story!
“Maybe their turn for winning is over, Grace. Maybe it’s our turn now.”
(Thank you to the publisher for proving an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.)