Thank you NetGalley and Berkley for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
SYNOPSIS: 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. (AMAZON)
Hollywood is a world full of dreams and heartbreak, and it is a story that has been told through more than 100 years. A place that offers you the possibility to have everything that you could want exerts a price of entrance, a steep one sometimes, the memory of which you will need to carry with you thereafter. This is the world that protagonist Grace Turner (Hyde) is welcomed into at the tender age of thirteen, after being discovered by the talented director Able Yorke during an audition at her London school. She rises fast as his muse through the years, until everything goes terribly wrong and her fame and talent are swept from under her.
Though this is not a new story, I was drawn to the synopsis and the idea of a female lead empowering herself against the man who (seemed) had taken so much from her. And, indeed, Grace is put through the wringer for a good deal of her life. Both due to her parents naivete and misplaced antagonism, as well as the total control of a man who should have protected her rather than used, Grace is not just physically but mentally abused at a time when she feels those closest around her to be role models and people that she can trust. And because those around her are all the wrong kind of people, she spirals into a darker and deeper void as her life progresses and she enters adulthood.
It was inevitable that she would crash and burn.
The depression and listlessness that this young woman feels for most of this book is palpable. One cannot deny that she is a tortured soul and does not know how to pull herself from where she has sunk. But so much time was spent in stasis, that it felt as if the story was going nowhere. Grace seems to allow herself to be pulled along for the ride as one small event happens after the other, and slightly stirs only when she approaches Emilia again, Able's wife. Her purpose behind this was nonsensical at first, and I found it odd that someone who appeared to have taken such a toll from these people (one directly, one indirectly) would attempt to get near either one of them again. When she finally started to settle on an attempted plan of revenge against Able, this was soon abandoned and she again lost purpose.
It wasn't until the last ten or so chapters that the novel picks up speed, but by then I couldn't help but feel that the majority of The Comeback wasted momentum. The rabid chases by the paparazzi, the sudden night out with her husband's current girlfriend, the meetings with her old agent and manager that amount to nothing, and even her sudden car crash alongside the man who abused her are events that seem to happen at random and without much build up. It's all quite frantic. And while what happened to Grace was terrible, as any situation of that standing would be whether it happened once or a hundred times, it was touched on so lightly and delved into so little that I had trouble connecting as deeply with her pain as I would have liked.
The book is well written, however, and at the end of the day, this is always going to be an important type of story to tell and read. Power often breeds monsters, and monsters will never stop preying. It's a must to shine a light on them.