Rummanah Aasi
 How many people can you name that have had 15 minutes of fame and then disappeared into obscurity? Or rather how many celebs can you think of that are popular only because someone on their family tree is well known? Can you name a celeb who's world was turned topsy turvy after they gaining fame? Theresa Rebeck's Three Girls and Their Brother gives the reader a backstage pass to the seedy world of the entertainment business where sharks and prey are abundantly available.

Description: Now that it’s all over, everybody is saying it was the picture–that stupid picture was behind every disaster. . . .They may be the granddaughters of a famous literary critic, but what really starts it all is Daria, Polly, and Amelia Heller’s stunning red hair. Out of the blue one day, The New Yorker calls and says that they want to feature the girls in a glamorous spread shot by a world-famous photographer, and before long these three beautiful nobodies from Brooklyn have been proclaimed the new “It” girls.
   But with no parental guidance–Mom’s a former beauty queen living vicariously through her daughters, and Dad is nowhere to be found–the three girls find themselves easy prey for the sharks and piranhas of show business. Posing in every hot fashion magazine, tangling with snarling fashonistas and soulless agents, skipping school and hitting A-list parties, the sisters are caught up in a whirlwind rise to fame that quickly spirals out of control.
   When Amelia, the youngest of the three–who never really wanted to be a model in the first place–appears in an Off-Broadway play, the balance of power shifts, all the pent-up resentment and pressure comes to a head, and the girls’ quiet, neglected brother reaches a critical point of virtual breakdown. And against the odds, even as the struggle for fame threatens to tear the family apart, the Hellers begin to see that despite the jealousy, greed, and uncertainty that have come to define their relationships, in the celebrity world of viciousness and betrayal, all they really have is one another.


Review: I was looking through the Alex Award book lists trying to figure out what book to read next for this reading challenge and I stumbled up Three Girls and Their Brother. I had never heard of the book and author before, but the synopsis caught my eye and I thought I would try it.
  Straddling the line of dark comedy and satire, Three Girls and Their Brother takes us backstage to the caprious entertainment industry where fame and luck sometimes intertwine and not always in the best interest of the person involved. The New Yorker does a piece on the Hellers, grandchildren of a late literary critic who are riding the coat tails of his popular and just so happen to be ravishingly beautiful. After a single photo shoot, the three teenaged sisters, ranging from 14 to 18 years old, modeling party girl careers are off to a careening start. 
 The book is told through each of the sibling's point of view, which allows us to get a closer look into this dysfunctional family and to help dicepher was is true and fantasy when fickle fame appears. The siblings are practically the only family unit as the looney mom and distant father appear on the outter fringes of the siblings' lives.
  Out of all the point of views, I really enjoyed reading from Philip, the brother who is 15 and seen as the 'plain one'. He narrates the first part, dubiously chronicling how their former Miss America mother blithely yanks the girls out of school and throws them to the jackals of publicity. It is through Philip's point of view that we remain grounded and witness how fast and easily fame takes a toll on a family that is already distant. Ironically, out all of the siblings Philip is the most sensible one but he gets shipped out to live with his distant father and stepmother for being unruly.
  My next favorite point of view was from the youngest sibling, Amelia, explains how one photoshoot became a juicy scandal for tabloids and celebrity magazines and how acting instead of modeling may be her true calling. Like Philip, Amelia's point of view points out the cut-throat aspect of the entertainment industry whether it's Hollywood or Broadway, the danger is the same- someone is always trying to steal your thunder and use you to their benefits.
  I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Showtime TV show Entourage as it covers similar themes.  Funny and searing, Three Girls and Their Brother is an enjoyable read where you are glad that you are not a celebrity and may make you think twice about ever wanting fame.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: Strong language, underage drinking, and sexual situations. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: The Year of Living Famously by Laura Caldwell, Celebrities in Disgrace by Elizabeth Searle
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I can't even imagine a life in show business, I don't think I'd survive. Or I'd make it a week and crumble under all the pressure. I think I'd really enjoy Philip's perspective as well, I like being with someone who keeps the story grounded:) Fabulous review Rummanah!


  2. This is a differnent book. I have a feeling I probably don't want to know everything that goes on in the entertainment industry, still I am sure it makes for some interesting reading!


  3. Candace Says:

    I've never heard of this and wouldn't have picked it up on my own, but it actually sounds really interesting! And different from what I normally read, which is good sometimes. Thanks for the review!


  4. Seems like a lot of drama - could go well or badly. What's the Alex Awards? I forget.


  5. I can't help but wish to be rich and famous sometimes but most days, I like being someone who leads an anonymous life. With the technology available these days, it must be so hard being a celebrity.

    I'd probably enjoy Philip's POV the most too because he's out of the limelight and can see how it affects his sisters. At the same time, I'm sure there's going to be a bit of jealousy.


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