Maia (Teresa) Wojciechowska School Library Journal - Essay

School Library Journal

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In [The Hollywood Kid] Miss Wojciechowska does succeed in conveying some idea of what life in the Hollywood milieu must be like for a sensitive adolescent boy. Despite this, the book is a blatant failure mainly because it is a pseudo-adult rather than a juvenile novel. Hollywood families obviously have problems which are quite different from those of average families. And, the 15-year-old hero's problems arise from his life; it is certainly difficult to be the son of a famous movie star, to live amidst the glamour and phoniness of Hollywood, to lose two fathers—the real one by divorce, the stepfather by death. Bryan's search for help somehow strikes the wrong note and the solution to his problems does not ring true. In many scenes, Bryan seems to be an adult masquerading as a teen-ager, in other scenes he is realistic and appealing. The conversations between Bryan and Martha, his 12-year-old friend, and Paula Wing, an ex-movie star, are stilted and embarrassingly false. The style of writing is contrived and there is a basic flaw in the use of point of view. The first five chapters of the book are written from the boy's point of view, but in chapter six (and throughout the rest of the book) the author begins a violent switching back and forth between Bryan's thoughts and those of various other characters which destroys the reader's identification with the hero. The author had a good idea which hasn't come off, because she seemingly can't reconcile herself here to writing for young people.

A review of "The Hollywood Kid," in School Library Journal, an appendix to Library Journal (reprinted from the November, 1966 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1966). Vol. 13, No. 3, November, 1966, p. 105.