MOLLY BIT by Dan Bevacqua


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A portrait of the actress as a young woman.

We meet Molly Bit in a chapter called "College: 1993." It’s an arts school where “everybody wanted to be famous…and if they didn’t get famous, they might die right there in their beds.” Unlike the other kids, Molly Bit has no doubt that she will hit the mark, and after a brief second chapter called "Dues: 1997," we arrive at "Success: 2001." By now, Molly has made two movies with her best friend and has appeared in a three-page photo spread in Vanity Fair titled “Girl From the Future: Why in Six Months Everyone Will Know Who Molly Bit Is.” This proves to be no exaggeration—she soon reaches mega-star status, with the action figures and tabloid exposés to prove it. By "Venice: 2006," she’s got a publicist, a personal assistant, and a bodyguard she’s paying 50,000 euros for four days—because she also has a very persistent stalker. The plot of Bevacqua’s debut has a dramatic twist two-thirds of the way through, but there’s something a bit mechanical about it, and subsequent sections lose momentum. Though the author sets out to reveal the human being inside a Hollywood legend, Molly never quite comes into focus. We spend a fair amount of time inside her head, but her thoughts have a generic quality: “Southern California tried to rob you of your deep interiority. LA did. Hollywood. It was impossible not to lose at least some of it, for shallow thoughts and conversations to cast a spell that sealed a layer off. For six months she’d been contemplating an ass lift.” This feels more like a hypothesis about what an actress would think than what one specific, fully realized character thinks.

Most enjoyable for its smart, often humorous details about moviemaking and celebrity culture.

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-9821-0458-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2019