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Laini Giles
The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow
Laini Giles, author
Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow. Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary. Thanks to Daisy, Clara's bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family. The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail. Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.
Giles (The Forgotten Flapper) provides an intriguing look at the life of an impoverished Kentucky girl who became best friends with a famous actress and the betrayal that ruined them both. Narrator Daisy DeBoe, a bootlegger’s daughter, grew up poor in rural Kentucky before eventually moving to California and landing a job in 1927 as silent film star Clara Bow’s secretary. Though the two grew up in similar circumstances, Daisy and Clara’s lives are worlds apart: Intelligent, pragmatic Daisy manages Clara’s life and finances and stops people from taking advantage of her. However, the sexy, outrageously excessive Clara continues to make reckless decisions with her money and her personal life (at one point she gives her two dogs a diamond-encrusted vanity case as a chew toy). Things come to a head when Clara marries a man who hates Daisy and subsequently fires her. Thrown out with nothing after Clara promised to take care of her, Daisy threatens to blackmail her former friend, and soon after, the police get involved. Giles does a great job of bringing old Hollywood to life, and her characters are so fully realized they nearly walk off the page. Based on true events, this scandalous tale is marvelously entertaining. (BookLife)