Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

Front Cover
Riverhead Books, 2012 - Fiction - 306 pages
2 Reviews
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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Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

User Review  - Beth Andersen - Book Verdict

Born into a rural Wisconsin theater home in 1920, Elsa Emerson catches the acting bug at age nine. A family tragedy cements her determination to hit the silver screen, propelling her, eight years ... Read full review

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

User Review  - Barbara Hoffert - Book Verdict

Midwestern girl puts family tragedy behind her and becomes a star in Golden Age Hollywood. Actually, it sounds like a Hollywood movie, but while that trajectory might seem worn, the book is said to be ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

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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