3 out of 4 stars
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I Need; I Want by Bill Liggins is the story of four actors who move to Hollywood to become rich and famous. Matt and Kayla are struggling performing artists who live in Tampa. They move to Hollywood along with Albert and Jenny. The glamour of Hollywood lures all of them, but the industry treats them in different ways. They face numerous auditions and rejections. These events stir up many emotions. Their relationships are affected and loyalties are questioned. Does fame come with a price? Can a relationship between two people withstand one person’s continuous success and the other’s continuous failure? Does your past come back to haunt you even though you want to change? These questions are answered in this fast-paced novel.
The author creates memorable and relatable characters who are all imperfect. Even though the four characters are very different, they are united by their love of acting. Matt and Kayla are African Americans trying for a better future as actors. Matt struggles to catch a lucky break as he works in telemarketing and customer service. Kayla is also stuck in “an artist’s nightmare, a humdrum job where she felt like an inconsequential rat in a wheel.” However, her talent for singing, her mixed ethnicity and discernible accent prove to be useful in auditions. At first glance, Jenny and Albert seem perfect for each other. Jenny is an insecure woman attracted to disturbed men. She is in a relationship with Albert who is hiding a dark past. Both of them are complex characters with many layers to their personality.
Everyone expects Hollywood to be a world of glamour and glitz. It is often portrayed as the land where dreams come true. Rags to riches stories of actors abound. This book is unique because it portrays the true face of Hollywood. To quote one of the characters, “Hollywood’s like a prude with a whore’s reputation. She’ll lure everyone to her, then slap them all for testin’ her warped virtue.” This book has all the vicissitudes of a struggling actor’s life and is filled with various emotions and romance.
I felt that the length of the book, which is almost 400 pages, was too long. The road trip from Tampa to Hollywood was especially dreary for me. The story moves to Hollywood only after the first 150 pages. I would urge the readers to be patient until then because the book gets entertaining after that. The writing becomes fast-paced, and the emotional conundrums of the characters become fascinating to watch.
I would have loved to give this book the highest rating because it was intriguing and insightful. Since I found many grammatical mistakes, I am constrained to give I Need; I Want by Bill Liggins 3 out of 4 stars. Nevertheless, I recommend this book to anyone who wants a fast-paced read filled with emotion. This story about the lives of actors has romance, drama, secrets and emotional upheavals. Therefore, anyone who appreciates these elements would enjoy this novel. However, readers who prefer action and intrigue might not relish it.
I Need; I Want
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