I Should Have Stayed Home: A Novel

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If it's well-written, and tells the tale, it rarely fails.


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For me, there are usually the exceptional and then there is the enjoyable. The novel was originally published in , and it does capture that moment in time, with respect to how people see the movie world. Everything else in the world was shit, yet the images of the cinema world were like me There is really no such thing as a bad Hollywood or noir novel. Everything else in the world was shit, yet the images of the cinema world were like medicine for those who were spiritually ill or suffering from the effects of the great depression. McCoy's novel clearly expresses his time, but yet for me, it lacks poetry, which makes a noir novel great.

The story is about a farm boy who comes to Hollywood to become, not an actor, but a star. He lives with Mona, who is also an star-want-to-be, but is also quite realistic in her chances in becoming such a professional. In the hands of someone like David Goodis, this would have been a trip to the underworld, but McCoy to me, is almost a nay-nay person, wagging his finger towards the Hollywood climate.

There are those who are in, and those outside the Hollywood system or factory. There is a political element, in that it is a world that exploits its people, and I sense McCoy is of that thinking that the system is pretty horrible. There is a strong message that Hollywood is very much of an opium to the great population out there.

This may be the case, but it is also like any other business that produces goods for the population, and to be fair to McCoy, I think he conveys that very well. The problem I have with the book is that I find Ralph a huge bore. I kind of hate him, because he's so simple, and on top of that, he's a southern racist. He's a little lamb who lost his way, and he lost in a damned world. He does come upon good people - for instance Mona, but also one of the producers, who is actually very kind in letting him know that he will never ever make it in Hollywood.

Ralph, due to his stupid nature, cannot accept that fact. I think reading this novel has to be a total experience than if I actually read the book in The mind-set of the readers at the time, were going through harsh times, so the promise of a "Hollywood" must have been a given thing or the end of that rainbow, which promises a greater future. McCoy pops that balloon. Yet, this is a wonderful read, but just not essential for me, with respect to the "Hollywood" novel.

View all 4 comments. Woolrich's books weren't based in L. Indeed, it's sort of a shame that you have to walk backwards through "First You Dream, Then You Die" The quote above is from Cornell Woolrich, author of "Rear Window" and other noir classics, and an acknowledged master of 's and 40's suspense fiction and roman noir. Indeed, it's sort of a shame that you have to walk backwards through Woolrich, James Cain, Hammett, and the rest to get to McCoy since he was in every way their peer.

Somewhat forgotten, despite having written the well known and well regarded "They Shoot Horses, Don't They? And well he should. This is a slim volume, without the violence and hard-boiled despair of some others. This is a book about failure, collapse, heartbreak and the grim reality of 's Tinseltown. It perfectly captures the feel of that place at that time, and you are sitting on a bungalow stoop, and circling the pool at high end parties, and walking sun-baked dusty sidewalks just as the characters do.

The great sadness of these books is that the dreams you watch wither and die were hopeless and doomed from the outset. You just know that before the characters do. Hey, first you dream, then you die. Maybe there isn't a single great American novel. But if you rolled up everything that's been written about Hollywood by all of the great writers who have tried to capture some piece of the place, you'd have a great start. This book has an honored place on that shelf. Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to the publisher of this book.

Ralph and Mona are down and out movie extras waiting for their big break into Hollywood.

As Ralph's accent holds him back he becomes desperate to change his luck. During a court trial of a friend Mona is held for contempt and leads herself and Ralph into Hollywood society. Ralph finds himself being led into a world that will test his morals and desperation. I immensely enjoyed my first novel by Horace McCoy. Cain's as it is straight to the point and gritty. We always get the shiny happily ever after stories of the golden age of Hollywood. I was grabbed from the opening scene of a court trial to the end of the novel. It was one of my read till I finish novels. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a gripping story.

Jul 13, Debbie rated it really liked it. McCoy wrote in the s in a contemporary setting. Oct 01, Rebecca Dunbar rated it liked it. A compelling story about the difficulties of 'breaking' into Hollywood in the late 's. Mrs Smithers was an intriguing character, as was the pornographic sub-story, and there were some effective images such as Dorothy and the 'Instrument of Death' - but overall it read as a bit of a 'paint by numbers' Hollywood novel Nowhere near as polished as 'The Day of the Locust', but worth examining as a sideline.

May 26, Justin Howe rated it really liked it. This reminded me of a pulpier version of Nathaniel West's Day of the Locust.

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For much of the book I expected the narrator to wind up gunned down in a swimming pool by the end. Was surprised that he wasn't. It's a rough read, grim and cynical, but if you look you'll find some diamonds in it. Aug 08, David rated it it was ok. I ended up accidentally buying the kindle version of this when I was looking to buy his "They Shoot Horses don't they" which was way more expensive than I thought a Kindle version should be.

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I Should Have Stayed Home by Horace McCoy

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