Seeing Stars: A Novel

Seeing Stars: A Novel

by Diane Hammond


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“Diane Hammond writes with heart, compassion, and humor.”
—Terry Gamble, author of The Water Dancers


From Diane Hammond, author of Hannah’s Dream, comes Seeing Stars, a glorious new novel of hope, dreams, love, and ambition. Set in Hollywood—where every child wants to be a star and every grownup wants a piece of the action—Seeing Stars explores a not-so glamorous world of stage mothers, adolescent Tinsel Town wannabes, and desperate chances with warmth and wit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061863158
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/23/2010
Pages: 459
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Diane Hammond is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Seeing Stars, Hannah's Dream, Going to Bend, and Homesick Creek. She served as a spokesperson for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and the Oregon Coast Aquarium and currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their three Pembroke Welsh corgis.

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Seeing Stars 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
bellamia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a......cute story. Although there are some characters that have very sad lives. Bethay wants to be an actress. Her Mom moves to LA so that can fulfill her daughters dream. Along the way they meet some pretty screwed up kids and learn that hollywood and this acting thing isn't exactly what they thought. It's tough out there.The lives of these characters keep you wanting to read more about them, you want to know how they end up.
ennie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every pilot season, child actors and their parents descend on Hollywood with big dreams. There to greet them are managers, agents and coaches, as well as their competition. The author of this novel about hopeful showbiz kids seems to know the territory well. Fascinating.
LiterateHousewife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If your child showed a talent for acting and wanted to give Hollywood a try, would you do all that you could to help him or her live their dreams? Ruth Rabinowitz decides that she will when she moves to an apartment in Hollywood with her daughter Bethany, leaving her dentist husband behind in Seattle. She quickly learns that however special she believes Bethany to be, there's so much more to acting in LA than talent. Together, the two of them forge a place of their own amidst the agents, managers, casting, directors, other actors, and, most especially, others wanting to act. Do they have what it takes to survive and make Bethany's dream come true?Seeing Stars brought to light an interesting juxtaposition there is between two types of parents bringing their children to Hollywood - those committed parents shuttling their kids from auditions and acting classes and those parents who happily drop their children off under the Hollywood sign never to look back. With committed parents, you wonder why they are sinking thousands upon thousands of dollars into such an illusive career for children who have barely begun to live their lives? Is it their child¿s dream they¿re helping them to pursue, or is it their own? The other situation is simply sad, making the stories of Allison and Quinn so compelling. Their parents found it easier to let LA raise their children than to let them get in the way of budding relationships with new spouses. While this may not be anything new, it seems particularly irresponsible to allow a place like that to raise your child. It¿s a form of prostitution in and of itself. God only knows what happens to such kids who are not successful. Allison and Quinn are the lucky ones, I¿m sure.Just as there are more actors in Hollywood than there are legitimate roles, there were too many characters in Seeing Stars. For long stretches of time, Ruth and Bethany disappeared from the story. Other than seeing some of these characters at an occasional audition or party, Laurel and her mother and even Quinn are not even on Ruth and Bethany¿s radar screen. Even though I really enjoyed Quinn`s story, I lost interest in Laurel's fairly quickly because they just did not seem relevant to Bethany¿s story other than she and her mother have been at the game longer. Had those three characters not been included, this novel would have read much more quickly and the second half wouldn¿t have seemed as long.Reading this novel was an enjoyable and educational experience. Although I've seen the same made for TV movies, read the same interviews with former child actors, I really had no idea about the workings of the Hollywood machine. I found the terminology and background information fascinating. Diane Hammond wrote this novel after experiencing Hollywood as the mother of a hopeful child actor. Her experience and knowledge is readily apparent in Seeing Stars. You felt the hope and shared the disappointments. Unlike other books I've read set in Hollywood, the characters and their stories weren't sensationalized. It tells about real people and how they survive in a world that is dominated by all that is artificial. After reading this book, you¿ll find that you no longer look at child actors or the bit roles on TV shows the same way.
justablondemoment on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A group of kids, all with the same talent agent, all with big Hollywood dreams wrestle with the ups and downs of getting their big break. Some have mothers who help them along others are own their own without much emotional support from there parents. The story takes us on an emotional roller-coaster from the eyes of all of them.I fell in love with this book from the first few chapters. The author did an excellent job of reeling you into the characters and making you feel as if you were right there along with them. It at no time felt 'unreal' to me. I actually whooped with joy when Quinn..oops almost gave it away. This book was a winner for me!!!
punxsygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thirteen year Bethany Rabinowitz has had some success in acting in theater in Seattle. Bethany's mother, Ruth, feels her daughter is destined for greater stardom in Hollywood. Thus, they leave Bethany's father behind and head to Hollywood, only to be caught in up the system designed to make money for many people but not necessarily the aspiring actor. Surrounded by talent agents, managers, acting teachers Bethany and Ruth struggle with auditions, rejections and humiliations. In reading this book, the acting mothers made soccer moms look like rank amateurs. And after a while, I became bored with the storyline of pushing the child with no expense spared, ignoring the things I hold important like an education.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What young girl doesn't have dreams of Hollywood at some time or another in her life? It might only be in the deepest, darkest, tiniest corner of her unconscious, but it's more than likely there. And for all those little girls, those now all grown up or those still day-dreaming, this is a novel for them.Bethany Rabinowitz has talent and wants to act in Hollywood. Her mother Ruth is more than committed to making that dream a reality, packing Bethany up and moving away from their home in Seattle in hopes that Bethany will be the one in a million who makes it as a child star. Leaving behind her slightly skeptical dentist husband, Ruth chases the impossible, spending money right and left, driving Bethany from agent to acting coach to audition and back again. How much will be enough before the Rabinowitzes burn out or Bethany books a big enough part is the looming question in this novel of dreams and desperation.Bethany is lucky though because, despite her mother's sometimes restrictive rules, Ruth cares enough to try and carefully shepherd Bethany through the process while several other of the young characters have been abandoned in their talent manager's lax care. While Bethany's life is ostensibly the center point of the novel, the other child actor wanna-be's backgrounds are also filled in, providing a counterpoint to Bethany's very average, somewhat stereotypical, love-filled upbringing. As the kids learn their parts and do the rounds, it becomes more and more clear that what drives the Hollywood business of children's acting is money. Launching a child into the firmament of Tinseltown depends on so much more than a child's talent.Hammond has drawn a novel that questions the process, highlights the insatiable beast, and makes the idea of turning a child into a star vaguely distasteful. First impressions, superficial and often mistaken, make or break these characters. The reader feels nothing but sympathy for the children abandoned by their parents into this morass and wonders why a loving, involved parent would insist on persevering for something so likely to end in failure and an empty bank account rather than glory and a dream achieved (although that begs the question of whose dream--mother or daughter?). Both Ruth and Bethany learn the value of real friendship and the ephemerality of childhood and time during the course of the novel. The cast of characters here is a bit too extensive, making certain of the children mere props for the plot and taking away from the principle characters. Despite this top-heaviness, the story itself is quite interesting, what with its revelations about the inner workings of auditions and the Hollywood machine. The novel is completely outside my realm of experience and I felt certain I would not have pursued things to the extent that Ruth did, but she was still a sympathetic character and one who was achingly realistic. Anyone who has ever gone to great lengths for their child or who has had their heart rate pick up just the slightest bit when a modeling agency or casting call advertisement comes on the radio will appreciate this cautionary tale.
ReDefiningAwesome on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book and a real page turner. The characters are all so different and well written it makes you forget that they aren't real people. This book is about a mother and daughter who go to California in hopes that the daughter will become a big star. The plot could have gone wrong in many ways, but Diane Hammond holds this book together and makes the characters and their endings realistic, not just another happy ending book.
traciragas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book through Early Reviewers. A little unlike the other reviewers, I didn't find this a real "page turner". I enjoyed the different characters and the directions they took, but I found myself a little disappointed in some of their actions. At times, the story was told so vividly, I could actually hear some character's voicing and hear Mimi's wheezing. Diane Hammond did an excellent job flushing out the various people and telling their behind the scenes stories. Allison is a troubled girl, with a pretty bad home life. Laurel and Angie are a mother-daughter team, that are fighting the cancer clock. At points, I enjoyed these secondary characters a little better. I thought Ruth was a little whiny...(sorry, Ruth). All in all, a very good book. Just not the page turner, I was expecting.
deltayo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An excellent book, very well written. The plot centers around kids and families that move to LA to become film stars, but this book is really about the characters that are created and developed. I found these characters to be real and I think a lot of what this book is about is the relationships between these characters. As someone involved in arts education the characters drawn here seem to hit close to home. This is not really a happy feel good book, but then I don't think it was intended to be such; if you read between the lines it is more of a social commentary about our life and times....
marcyjill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seeing Stars is the story of young Hollywood hopefuls and their families . It is about trying to achieve that elusive "booking" and the costs of seeking fame at a young age and is a compelling and well-written story. The characters are honest and unique -- even for a Hollywood setting. The story is contemporary, believable and told so authoritatively that I often forgot that I was reading a novel and not a true story. As a reader I was easily drawn into the world of this book and I found it hard to put down. From the sordid details of the Hollywood way to the inner-workings of families, it is an intimate experience and in many ways a cautionary tale. I highly recommend this book.I received Seeing Stars through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.
bwightman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program, and I have to say it was one of my favorites! This book tells the story of Ruth and Bethany, a mother and daughter who came to Hollywood from Seattle to try and start Bethany's acting career. However, things in Hollywood are never as they seem.The characters in this story, Mimi, Allison, Laurel, Quinn, etc. are so uniquely written that I never found my mind wandering from the story. I found myself invested in these characters and wanted to see each of them succeed and find happiness.I loved this book because it tells the story of those who go to Hollywood and struggle to eek out a living - not those who go and get a break. It's a refreshing change, well-written, engaging, and highly recommended!
jess0124 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seeing Stars tells the story of kids with big dreams to make it in Hollywood. It follows four children through the daily life of auditions, call backs, disappointment and success. The relationships between the characters develop as the story moves on and makes for a very interesting read.I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who likes Hollywood stories!
theeclecticreview on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Welcome to the real world of trying to become a child star.Ruth Rabinowitz is helping her daughter Bethany find her niche in the rigorous and volatile television and/or motion picture business in Hollywood. But is it costing her her marriage and her sanity? Mimi Rogers is a long-time, aggressive, cranky, talent agent for child, teenage and young adult actors. Coming to Hollywood as a struggling child actor herself that did not pan out, she became a talent agent by accident and the rest is history. She swore that she would not become attached to her proteges, but there is one young actor who touches her heart like no other, but what if this one fails?Quinn Reilly is a talented young actor at the ripe old age of 14 years old who was pretty much abandoned by his parents who are footing his bills just to keep him out of their hair and abandoned by Mimi Rogers because he made a mistake while living under her roof. Now he resides with a down and out couple who allow him to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Will Quinn succeed in the business or will he fall prey to other temptations?Allison Addison knows she isbeautiful and talented, but at what price? Mimi knows she is going to be famous, but will her personal life interfere with her dreams? Laurel Buehl is a talented young actor who knows her mother is dying of cancer, but can't tell anyone. Her mother loves her too much to have Laurel give up her dream. Can Laurel keep her secret from her father and her friends?This very unique story tells of the unglamorous world of Hollywood with the hard, often disappointing set backs of being a child actor. The characters are both vulnerable and strong. Their stories are uplifting, heartbreaking and sole searching.Thank you to Ms. Hammond and LibraryThing's Early Reviewers for the opportunity to review this book.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, was hooked from the beginning, and found myself thinking about and missing the characters once I was done. Ms. Hammond has written a wonderful story about the pursuit of dreams, about family (born and made), and very much about consequences of all kinds.The writing is superb as are the characterizations, but best of all is story. In this age of 15-second fame and reality TV, Ms. Hammond captures the desperation of those looking for their big break, their moment in the sun - that these are children whose parents are often as (or more) desperate than they are is what makes the book a worthwhile read. Ms. Hammond has written a book that goes on the list of favorite books about Hollywood along with The Day of the Locusts and Valley of the Dolls.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was going to be a frothy look at the life of a child-star in the making, but it was actually so much more. The story of these children trying to make it in Hollywood was touching and well-written, highlighting the darker side of seeking fame and fortune as an impressionable young adult. I thought the voices of the kids rang true, as did the presentation of their parents' motives in sending them to Hollywood. All in all, a rather bleak look at life as a child star but also a story about the redemptive power of love.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seeing Stars is the story of wannabe child actors and actresses and the lengths their parents will go to to see their dreams come true. Bethany Rabinowitz wants to be a Hollywood star and her mother believes she has what it takes. So they leave everything behind, including Mr. Rabinowitz, and enter the world of Hollywood desperation. From the horrible way producers treat these impressionable young kids to the manic drive their parents succumb to in the search for success, all of Hollywood's dirty, seedy sides are exposed. In the end, I just found this book depressing. Seemingly reasonable and loving people (as well as dirty, rotten ones) were constantly making terrible choices having lost all sense of perspective in the race for fame. I didn't have much respect for the characters and I didn't like many of them either. I loved some of Dianne Hammond's other books. I will eagerly await her next one and hope she is back to funny, entertaining, likable characters!
rawlski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seeing Stars depicts child actors in Hollywood and the struggles that they and their families face in trying to ¿live the dream.¿ There were quite a few characters in the book, whose stories often overpowered the story of Ruth and Bethany, a mother daughter pair who move to Hollywood, leaving behind friends and family. The sacrifices that Ruth makes, especially with regard to her marriage, illustrate what a child actor and their family must endure and the disappointment that may follow a move to Hollywood.I found this book sad and depressing. The parents pushed their children, often leaving them with their agent for months at a time, to accomplish the dream of fame. Overall, this was a slow-paced read and was drawn out long past my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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LegalBeagle More than 1 year ago
Everyone has a dream. And for many, Hollywood is the real field of dreams. In Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond, Ruth Rabinowitz dreams that her sweet, talented, thirteen year old daughter Bethany aka Bethy will make it big in La La land. So the supportive, but star struck Ruth and the talented, but "niche" actress Bethy leave their Seattle home, along with the loving, but emotionally unsupportive husband/father, Hugh Rabinowitz, and decamp to Hollywood to follow that dream. Seeing Stars follows Ruth and Bethy's ride in the Hollywood funhouse of show biz. During the day the pair travel between auditions, call backs, bookings, showcases, and acting lessons. And every night ends with Ruth fervent prayer: "Please God, shine on my Bethany and make her a star." Along the way, the reader is introduced to other child actor hopefuls some with more money than talent and others with equal heapings of talent and problems. In fact a few of the side characters and their storylines are vastly more compelling than Ruth's and Bethy's saga of "how to be nice while reaching for the brass ring and is it really worth it?" According to Hammond, the novel was inspired by her personal experiences of living for two years in Hollywood with her actress daughter. The author's insider's knowledge of the terrain is amply reflected in her writing. For example, Hammond writes in vernacular of the field: actors read "sides," not scripts and go "off book" when they have memorized their lines. Reading Seeing Stars for the insider's info/jargon alone makes the novel an enjoyable read. Seeing Stars is an engrossing story of what really goes on behind closed studio doors. Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Original edition (March 23, 2010), 480 pages. Advance review copy provided courtesy of TLC Book Tours.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Ruth Rabinowitz knows her thirteen years old daughter Bethany is destined for stardom in Hollywood. Thus, she leaves behind her husband (Bethany's dad) and takes her teen to Los Angeles where she expects instant status. As Bethany's manager Mimi Roberts renames her Bethany Ann Roosevelt, the child enters the world of humiliating rejections while her mom continues Seeing Stars. Bethany meets other teen wannabes with more experience at being cast off. Laurel hopes to be a star before her dying mom passes away. Allison the Texan has personal issues that interfere with her acting desires. Quinn, also from Seattle like Bethany is, has been abandoned by her abusive stepfather and ineffective mother, which makes Mimi her surrogate parent. Fascinatingly the story line focuses mostly on the stage mother and her offspring as they face rounds of degrading rebuffs, yet the stereotyped three other teens steal the show with their personal troubles. In fact Ruth's epiphany about motherhood and stage motherhood detracts from the tense character driven saga of a teen trying to make it in Hollywood where the norm is debasing oneself only to receive demeaning dismissal. Harriet Klausner