In Lynne Brightman Horn’s novel, Diane Kramer is a recently divorced school teacher who looks for a new challenge by becoming a personal assistant to Hollywood star Janit Gold. Diane moves into Janit’s Hollywood mansion, where the two immediately strike up a friendship that goes well beyond a working relationship.
Diane, an aspiring screenplay writer, shows one of her early drafts to Janit, who quickly turns it over to a Hollywood producer who not only produces it as a television drama but casts Janit in the starring role. From there, Diane’s career as a sought-after screenwriter takes off.
Horn did her homework on how Hollywood works, as she details the stages of production: how producers and directors order rewrites and how whirlwind the process can become. Toss in a couple of boyfriends, some turbulent side stories, such as cocaine problems, a stalker and egotistical producers, and Horn’s book itself has the makings of a screenplay — perhaps for an original movie on the Hallmark Channel.
Before heading to the screen, however, it could use an update – unless, of course, it’s meant to be a period piece freeze-dried in the 1980s or ’90s. Horn, for example, writes of a secretary using a “word processor,” Janit using a “car phone”, and passÃ© blue-and-rose dÃ©cor in the mansion. The theme from Love Story plays at a wedding, and during a romantic date, Barbra Streisand is a favorite singer. Horn also writes of a fundraiser featuring Barry Manilow, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Billy Crystal and others that grosses $200,000 — chump change by today’s fundraising standards and considering the star power involved.
Despite such flaws, the novel has enough twists to keep it moving forward on a day at the beach. Horn tightly wraps up her many side stories, and her main characters are likeable enough that you’ll catch yourself rooting for their success.
Also available in hardcover.