Lucky Break

Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Nov. 2011. c.320p. ISBN 9781608196906. pap. $16. F
Anxious students Nell, Dan, Jemma, Pierre, and Charlie are some of the aspiring young actors who arrive at Drama Arts, the fictional drama school in Freud's (Hideous Kinky) seventh novel. Through the next 14 years, the would-be actors together endure classes, auditions, agents, screen tests, disappointments, and some successes. Freud again draws on her own experience—she attended drama school herself—and her believable characters are written with intelligence and compassion. The author's flair for authentic situations is evident, although at times she approaches cliché—a sleazy director attempts to seduce Nell in a casting-couch situation, and Patrick, the director of Drama Arts, could not be more self-important. While Freud is a talented writer known for her psychological insights, eccentric characters, and strange situations, her portrayal of the acting world at times seems a bit flat. Perhaps it is because the promise of triumph—the film or the Broadway play, that lucky break—is so rarely delivered.
VERDICT Highly readable but not as satisfying as Freud's previous works.
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