Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Book Review: Banished From Memory

By Sara Steven

It’s 1960. Sixteen-year-old Dianna Fletcher has been accustomed to the bright lights of Hollywood all her life-but now they are casting shadows on her family’s past and on her own future.

Dianna fears she is losing her talent and failing to live up to her family’s legacy. When she does land a part, she finds an unexpected enemy in brilliant actor and womanizer, Bill Royce, who not only attacks her confidence but holds a deep grudge against her family. Dianna comes to believe Bill’s resentment is related to her suspicion that her parents harbor a secret linked to the blacklist. But even as their friendship grows despite their misgivings about each other, Bill will not confess what he knows.

As Dianna struggles with her career in a rapidly changing industry, she urges Bill to share his dark past with her, only to discover secrets that could destroy her family’s prestige and power.

Banished From Memory highlights the conflicted relationship between two legacies of the blacklist, the sunset of classic Hollywood, the challenges and gifts of acting, and a determination on the part of one generation to exhume the truth of another’s. But at what cost? (synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Banished From Memory presented an intriguing and unique concept, with bringing in real-life celebrities and characters most of us are very familiar with, blending in with fictional people who feel true to life and more than believable. Not only that, but the celebrities we’ve come to know and often love have a voice within this story that fits their individual characteristics and mannerisms, an uncanny representation that aided in bringing forth Dianna’s inner struggles. I really couldn’t get enough of the nostalgia!

Dianna is the type of character who we hate to love, initially. Born with extreme privilege within a world that revolves around the silver screen, there are moments of brattiness and cattiness, showcasing her immaturity and inability to understand what’s behind the gilded curtains of her life. Yet, as her story progresses, we see her change and evolve, and while she still holds on to her youthfulness, there is a gritty edge that comes out when she begins to see the world for how it really is. This is due largely in part to her new friend and potential love interest, Bill Royce. I could feel the pangs of a girlish crush from Dianna, and the yearning he has for her, even though he feels as though it’s not right, and in some ways, forbidden. There is a lot stacked against the both of them, and a lot of baggage, which makes the reader feel torn about seeing them as a couple, bringing out the best and the worst within one another.

In reading about the history of the blacklist within Banished, I felt I learned a lot more than I ever imagined I could. While I knew of its legacy, I did not know the intricacies involved. I know the characters in this story are fictional, even the ones whose names we know well, but their stories and what they’ve had to endure is very real, a moment in our history that has not been brought to light in a very long time. Running alongside it are the various ways women were treated or “handled”, a time where certain behaviors were much more accepted than they are now, something that is very relatable to more recent events. Dianna questions all of it, and it’s from her perspective that we find ourselves asking the same thing that she does throughout the novel: What is a woman’s worth? It's in this that we really see the changes in Dianna and those around her, an eye-opening revelation worthy of discovery.

Thanks to JKS Communications for the book in exchange for an honest review.

No comments: