A revealing and refreshing memoir of Hollywood in the 1970s
In 1963 after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Susanna Moore leaves her home in Hawai’i with no money, no belongings, and no prospects to live with her Irish grandmother in Philadelphia. She soon receives four trunks of expensive clothes from a concerned family friend, allowing her to assume the first of many disguises she will need to find her sometimes perilous, always valorous way.
Her journey takes her from New York to Los Angeles where she becomes a model and meets Joan Didion and Audrey Hepburn. She works as a script reader for Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, and is given a screen test by Mike Nichols. But beneath Miss Aluminum’s glittering fairytale surface lies the story of a girl’s insatiable hunger to learn and her anguished determination to understand the circumstances of her mother’s death. Moore gives us a sardonic, often humorous portrait of Hollywood in the seventies, and of a young woman’s hard-won arrival at selfhood.
“Moore takes a wry, clear-eyed view of the movie world’s pretensions . . . A captivating portrait of a woman in search of herself.”
“Novelist Moore recounts drifting aimlessly through young adulthood after her mother’s death in this affecting coming-of-age story . . . While living in late 1960s Los Angeles, she thrived and befriended Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, and writer Joan Didion . . . Moore’s search for stability during a free-spirited decade is a whirlwind of celebrity encounters and a lyrical exploration of the lingering effects of a mother’s death.”
“Chronicled in exacting prose . . . Her journey to adulthood included years working as a sales clerk, model, personal assistant, and script reader to at least one movie star, as well as friend to the literati and glitterati after she made her way to California. Despite these seeming adventures, Moore’s saga is far from the stuff of fairy tales . . . Moore offers readers a well-written, unobstructed view of what appears to be an idyllic life, ultimately revealing that looks can be deceiving.”
—Thérèse Purcell Nielsen, Library Journal