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Such Mad Fun: Ambition and Glamour in Hollywood’s Golden Age (3 out of 5)

Such Mad FunSuch Mad Fun: Ambition and Glamour in Hollywood’s Golden Age by Robin R. Cutler is a biography about the author’s mother, Jane Hall, who at age ten begins her public career as a writer. Jane invents courtship narratives and poems and sends them out to be published. She also starts art school. In the 1930’s Jane received $350 from Delineator for an article and $800 from Cosmopolitan for her sixth and seventh published story. Jane also writes These Glamour Girls which becomes a big success.

Such Mad Fun describes Jane’s suitors Dick Clarke and Cliff Zieger, along with her relationship with F. Scott “Pretty Boy” Fitzgerald who gave Jane a personal copy of Tender Is the Night.

Such Mad Fun would have had more of an impact if it were written all in Jane’s voice, rather than as a reported story. For instance, one passage reads: “According to her diary, he (meaning Austin Purves) told her (Jane Hall) that ‘success depends on one’s attitude toward the future . . . . ”  So rather than being an easy, fun book, the reader needs to work hard to follow many voices as the story progresses.

Of particular interest is Jane’s correspondence with the last surviving great-grandchild of Queen Victoria of England and the author’s revelation of how she got her mother’s diary.

This book would be of interest to anyone pursuing a career in writing or who has an interest in learning about Hollywood’s Golden Age. (3 out of 5)

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