Lucky Break, By Esther Freud
Three characters, perfectly cast
Sunday 08 April 2012
Esther Freud trained as an actress before she became a novelist, and this enjoyable, absorbing story of drama students struggling to carve out careers for themselves clearly owes much to her own experiences.
It follows the stories of three characters in particular over a period of 14 years: Nell Gilby, dumpy, frumpy but deep-down sexy, the quiet one with hidden talents; the glamorous mixed-race Charlie, tall, golden-skinned and beautiful; and the tall, dark, handsome, ambitious Dan whose career conflicts with the demands of a wife and four kids. It all has the ring of truth: the brutally competitive atmosphere of drama school, the promises that don't materialise, the agents who don't return calls, the lecherous film director, the possible part in The Bill, the failed auditions, the trauma of getting spots before shooting a film scene, the mixture of solidarity and rivalry between friends, the difficulties of doing regional accents in rep, the crap jobs one regrets turning down – and, of course, the lucky breaks.
Some reviewers have praised this as a funny book, but I didn't find it particularly hilarious. Instead it is good-natured and empathetic, making you share in the characters' emotional highs and lows. Freud's prose style is simple and transparent – it's not flashy, but it has the great merit of being able to make you forget you're reading a book.
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Christmas 2014: The three most intriguing celebrity panto appearances
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyonce '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed and films daughter Blue Ivy in lo-fi homage to viral video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'