Author: Montana Morris
Page Numbers: 57
“Hollywood”, a short story for those who love realistic fiction, gives the reader the insight of the life of the protagonist, Hollywood, a young girl living in London, who faces many obstacles trying to care for her two younger siblings and herself, whilst enduring pressures from the older figures in her life.
Morris’ use of expository writing gives the reader the ability to delve into the life of the young girl, her unstable relationship with her mother, the paths she crosses during the day until the “lullaby of emergency sirens” lull her to sleep. Whilst the story lacks an overall plot, Morris is able to include glimpses of the micro-aggressions Hollywood faces as a black girl, who lives in a “postcode” the police does not dare to patrol.
What is the most intriguing about the book is how it leaves the reader to question Hollywood’s persona. Despite repeating at the start and towards the end of the book that “I am not her, she is not me” (“her” and “she” being her mentally ill mother), Morris illustrates Hollywood as a girl who is unwilling to live in her reality. Morris begins the story with her likening herself to “Wonder Woman” whilst at work, at an undisclosed location. She is unable to look at herself in the mirror, and often imagines “letting go” of the window to “fly away and land in the stars”. On the other hand, she is very guarded and is able to make quick comebacks to those who may scold her; to the extent of educating her English teacher on the sexist origin of “lady” turning him into an “interesting shade of pissed”.
The overall theme of the book is unclear as the ending is very ambiguous, leaving the reader wondering what happens next. To be left in question may appeal to some readers, however, personally, without another book in the series, I would’ve preferred if there was even one solution to the many challenges of Hollywood’s life. This may have been Morris’ method of demonstrating that, as this is realistic fiction, in reality, our troubles aren’t always solvable due to many barriers (whether that is sex, race, or social class in Hollywood’s scenario). It is understandable that Hollywood’s internal as well as surrounding issues would not have been resolved in the space of a day; the time frame of the whole book. Morris showing the reader only a snapshot of Hollywood’s life leaves the reader to make their own assumptions about how her challenges came to be, and how (or if; depending on how pessimistic/realistic the reader is) she’ll eventually find salvation.
Overall, this book was an interesting read. I was able to experience the life of a young girl, whose setting dwells only an hour from mine, yet faces experiences so alien to my own. I’d recommend this story to readers who enjoy a quick read, which submerges you into the life of the protagonist, whilst leaving you to create Hollywood’s backstory as well as her future.
✨ ✨ ✨ /✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨
“She has long silky hair, that belongs to her by way of a receipt, and blank eyes.”
If you have any recommendations for me to read, then let me know! Comment below, and I’ll check it out!