The Actress

Originally published July 2014

You know what I would have liked to title this review? Was I not such a ‘fraidy cat, it would have been “Ooooooo, Girl! I Knew (Insert Name of Famous Actor) Was Gay!” But I don’t want to get sued, so you’re just going to have to read the book.

Before I go any further, let me state my opinion on the matter—I am a big believer in love not recognizing gender. So whether someone is gay or not doesn’t phase me in the slightest. It’s important to state that up front, because the crux of the novel is this—an A-lister superstar that refuses to come out of the closet, and the up and coming young actress that falls in love with him while auditioning for a role—she just didn’t know it was for that of his beard.

Maddy Freed is young, accessible and on her way up the career ladder. With her boyfriend Dan, she is establishing herself as both an actress and a writer, and it’s at the book’s version of Sundance that she crosses paths with Steven Weller, one of the world’s most famous actors. It’s Weller that readers will easily align with a real-life star, often the center of gay rumors, married a couple of times, and who very quickly falls for the much younger Maddy.

Steven woos Maddy from Dan and begins a contentious hot love affair, full of ups and downs, with both settling into a marriage—saving him from the gay rumor mill and offering her a leg up in Hollywood.

The book follows Maddy as she struggles with her conscience—is she getting parts, rave reviews and accolades because she really is good at what she does, or because she is married to Steven? When a major tabloid scandal about a homosexual rendevous threatens Steven’s chances for an action franchise, does Maddy step up to the plate on behalf of her husband, or does she cave to her concerns?

I first found Sohn with “Motherland“—an outrageous, and I mean outrageous look at the families of Park Slope in NYC. Shocking, shameless and fun, I was amped up for another good time with “The Actress.” While not as completely outlandish as “Motherland,” I still wasn’t able to put the book down. Where does Maddy’s career go next? Is Steven gay? What about her batshit frenemy Kira, once a co-star and now a competitor?

And then there is the question of Steven, especially as it applies to the real world. Is his sexuality anyone’s business? And if he is gay, is he doing the LGBT community a disservice by hiding it? Is it any of their business? In the end, is he weak or lacking in courage because he can’t be true to himself? And is that inability to be honest what drives so much of his assy behavior? Could he be a better man to Maddy?

Delicious and highly entertaining—a great summer read.


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