My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
Nick and Jack are set builders on a theater off Broadway in New York in the early 1920ies. Set builders with dreams. Nicks dream is to go out west and become rich in Hollywood, Jacks dream is to be with Nick. So together they set out for Hollywood.
Once they arrive the dream of making it rich turns out to be not as easy as Nick originally thought and we follow their relationship through the tumult that is Hollywood in the early days of film making.
Please be aware, that this is the first of five books in the Gin & Jazz series, and the story arc continues, so there is no resolution at the end of this story!
I am not quite sure how I feel about this story. It was a very interesting look at Hollywood in the 1920ies and a gritty story of how much of yourself you are willing to compromise and sell to make it big – a concept still very relevant today! I enjoyed those parts of the story.
And in a perverse way I also enjoyed the changes in the two boys. How Jack went from wide eyed and naive innocent to the slow beginnings of being a “man of the world” (although he still has trouble accepting this fact as this part of the story concludes). Nicks journey is even worse, he goes from being completely sure of himself and his abilities, to severely disillusioned and unsure of anything really…
The main problem for me was, that I sincerely disliked both main characters! I didn’t really believe in their love. I felt like it was adoration and co-dependence from Jacks point of view and lust and desire to control someone weaker from Nicks. It felt unhealthy, (view spoiler)
I saw Nick as a controlling bully, who kept excusing his actions by saying he “did it for Jack” all the while keeping Jack out of every decision he made about their shared life, and their shared finances.
Jack was a complete doormat up until around the 75 percentile mark of the story, always apologizing and feeling that Nicks foul moods were his fault. Nick treated him as a child, but then he acted like one, so I guess Nick can be excused in that regard.
I didn’t warm to either of them through out the story – but as I said, I kind of enjoyed watching them unravel, as people and as a couple. (view spoiler)
As the blurp hints this story ends with no real resolution – in fact it ends on a horrible cliff hanger – so I wouldn’t advise to read this with out the sequel close at hand.