Australians in Hollywood – we read about every detail of their lives, from what they eat for breakfast to with whom they are sleeping. What we don’t often hear about is the sheer terror of moving to a strange city, the risks they take in trying to find work and the daily grind of auditioning and putting themselves on the line.
Then come the terrifying lows that are the result of rejection after rejection and, for the lucky few, the amazing highs of success and money. But it doesn’t end there; that is just the beginning. The pressure of performing, of being liked and having the confidence to constantly be the centre of attention all take their toll.
It’s not all glitz and glamour.
I Say Tomato gives us an insight into all of this. It is the story of an Australian actress, Sunny, who arrives in Hollywood with a film star name, blonde hair extensions, a broken heart, and lashings of hope.
Having left her long-time boyfriend to try her luck in Hollywood, Sunny is forced to face the reality of a city so different from home that it is like an alien town. No one walks anywhere, nobody has a washing line and the men are too involved with themselves to really let a woman into their lives, let alone their hearts.
The familiar faces of actors and actresses surround Sunny at all the industry parties, but she cannot find work, and she is running out of money – fast. She stumbles upon some good luck and some not-so-great incidents that teach her invaluable lessons about life, love, herself and those around her.
What decisions will she make as she questions everything she knows, from her acting career to the lost love of her life?
This charming chick-lit novel reads like a Hollywood romantic comedy film: full of humour and wit, disaster and catastrophe, love and loss. The big difference is that it is done in the tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating style of an Australian, giving the story a real life quality, despite being set in a city famous for its lack of reality.
Its main character, Sunny, is a contrast to the make-believe life led by the other players. We see her for who she is: a pleaser, acting her way through not just her work, but life itself, and a woman coming to terms with life alone.
Wall is observant, honest and funny in I Say Tomato, her first novel. The story is at times a little clichéd, but this makes it an undemanding, easy bedtime read for any woman needing a light, humourous switch-off at the end of a long day.