A Hollywood Ending is about a woman named Paige Carson. But Paige isn’t just any woman; she is a Hollywood megastar with an Oscar under her belt. That Oscar isn’t enough to console her when she starts fretting about the future of her career, especially after being humiliated on set by a co-star who thinks Paige doesn’t have any real acting talent. That fear, coupled with numerous disappointments and upsets in her personal life, drives her to England to perform in a theatre production of the Bard’s As You Like It. Not only does Shakespeare make Paige question whether she actually can act, but getting used to England takes some adjusting, especially considering that she is living without the creature comforts she has become so accustomed to.
Surprisingly, the thing Paige finds most difficult about England is her landlord, Ed. A documentary filmmaker with his own troubles, Ed thinks that the last thing he needs is some spoiled famous person living in the house that was supposed to be his. They are both in for a surprise as they realize that opposites attract and they may need each other more than they think.
Robyn Sisman’s book is a classic fairy tale-type story about the rich, bratty girl who ends up being more than she seems. At the beginning, Paige seems like a spoiled brat who can’t be happy for anyone else because she seems to be having a mid-life crisis (albeit an early one.) By the end of the book, it is revealed that she is simply human, with doubts like any other girl. When faced with less-than-stellar circumstances, Paige acts out, and those unappealing parts of her personality come forward. In England, though she is presented with circumstances that aren’t exactly what she’s used to, she still measures up admirably. It is difficult to feel sorry for her when she realizes that she must walk to the theater as it doesn’t provide a car service. Of course that must be shocking to someone in that situation, but as a car service isn’t something the general public who will be reading this book has access to, it just makes Paige seem like more of a brat. She adjusts well, and these “shocks” quickly disappear. One does wonder, though, what she will be like upon her return to Hollywood. Will she return to the Paige we see at the beginning of the book, or is the change permanent? The book is simply too short and does not delve deep enough into Paige’s character to be able to tell.
The character of Paige herself was interesting. Sisman seems to have loosely based the character on the actress Liv Tyler. After all, Paige Carson is the daughter of aging rock god Ty Carson, and had a small role in the film “Journey to Mount Doom,” while Liv Tyler is the daughter of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, and had a small role in the film series “Lord of the Rings.” It doesn’t really have any bearing on the storyline, it just is an interesting observation.
The book has the predictable dramatic twist right before the ending, but that end is so short that the reader is left with a sense of dissatisfaction. There is no telling how her performance went, how it was received by the critics, and what choices she made for her life after the show was finished. Rarely do I say that I wish a book was longer, but I wish that Sisman had fleshed out more of the conclusion of Paige’s story.
Overall, while A Hollywood Ending is predictable, it is still enjoyable - a sort of Notting Hill without the awkwardly hilarious comedy of Hugh Grant. It fits snugly into the chick lit genre: cute, with a little bit of fun.