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Another Side of Paradise
352 pages; HarperCollins
Looking for something deliciously dishy with a side of wry? This golden age Hollywood novel is your ticket. Filled with movie stars and moguls from the late 1930s, it chronicles the turbulent love affair between F. Scott Fitzgerald and the powerful gossip columnist Sheilah Graham. Raised in a London slum, with a stint in an orphanage, Graham fabricated an upper-class past and made herself into Hollywood royalty. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, was down on his luck. His novels were out of print; his screenplays were flopping; his wife, Zelda, had taken up permanent residence in a psychiatric facility; and he was drinking. Narrated by Graham, the story of their passionate liaison is loaded with trenchant observations ("Scott Fitzgerald strikes me as a rare osprey caught in a habitat even more unnatural for him than for the rest of us in Hollywood") and witty quips ("The rich are different. Their taste is worse."). The hat worn by her serpent-tongued rival, columnist Hedda Hopper, looks like "a floral tribute for a murdered mobster." Beneath the bons mots and fizzy glamour lies the yearning for genuine connection—to be truly seen and loved.
— Dawn Raffel