Overview - Our Town is the debut of a striking literary voice, one that captures the disillusion at the fringes of Hollywood as seen through a haze of drugs, alcohol, abuse, and fallen aspirations. An unseen narrator guides us through the dark fairy tale of Dorothy White, an aspiring actress who "never quite figured how to get out of her own way." Her perfect marriage to an equally golden actor, Dale, quickly turns into one of jealousy and violence. Read more...
More About Our Town by Kevin Jack McEnroe
is the debut of a striking literary voice, one that captures the disillusion at the fringes of Hollywood as seen through a haze of drugs, alcohol, abuse, and fallen aspirations. An unseen narrator guides us through the dark fairy tale of Dorothy White, an aspiring actress who "never quite figured how to get out of her own way." Her perfect marriage to an equally golden actor, Dale, quickly turns into one of jealousy and violence. Dorothy ends the marriage yet begins a legacy of self-destruction for the failed couple, as well as their two children, Clover and Dylan.
But we see the pathos in Dorothy's attempts to get back on track, to be a good woman, mother, and grandmother. Throughout the novel, she is left in the wake of decisions that turn disastrous. Her downward spiral from elusive fame into consistent infamy--a series of DUIs, the continuing neglect of her children, a string of failed and unhealthy relationships--is not without its grace, with the warmth of her character shining through her spackled makeup and cloud of acrid perfume. In many ways, Dorothy White is an anti-heroine for the ages--"vanilla voiced," bewigged, loving, and ever radiant --a sympathetic character caught in the riptide of her transformation from small-town southern girl to one-time toast of Hollywood to embarrassing tabloid fodder. Our Town
is an original and startling debut novel, one whose fresh voice and expert perspective reinvents the Hollywood story for a new generation of readers.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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The debut novel from McEnroe is a shocking tale of addiction and family disintegration that takes place at the margins of the entertainment industry. Dorothy and Dale are young actors who meet when they are cast in the pilot of a 1960s television show. They fall in love, marry, and have two children: Clover and Dylan. Dorothy’s career founders just as Dale’s begins to rise. Both drink and take drugs; soon jealousy and abuse have wrecked the marriage. Dale lives the life of a playboy while Dorothy slips further into addiction and obscurity, and most of the novel is concerned with her long downward slide: she takes up with a teenage boyfriend, neglects her children, moves on to harder drugs, and becomes a progressively greater embarrassment to her ex-husband and her children. Though McEnroe has a gift for crafting scenes of familial horror (such as when teenage Dylan curls up at his mother’s feet while she injects heroin), the relentlessness of Dorothy’s march from degradation to degradation is exhausting. The icy narration strives for clarity, but ultimately the novel offers a shallow analysis of self-destruction. Clover, who seems to have mostly escaped her family’s calamities, is the novel’s most realized and interesting character, but her best scenes are too late to balance the overall work. McEnroe has undeniable talent; his next book will be one to watch out for. (May)