Limelight by Amy Poeppel is everything I hoped it would be and more. Full of humor with plenty of heart, it’s such an enjoyable book. This is Poeppel’s second book and I really like her writing style. There’s such an ease to it and the witty dialogue is fresh and realistic.
I always give props for originality and this is a refreshing take on the ‘fish out of water’ type story. Allison Brinkley and her husband move their family from Dallas to New York City. While most people tend to live in cities during their twenties and then moves to the suburbs, they take the reverse approach. They go from big house to tiny apartment, the large highways of Dallas to the crowded streets of Manhattan. Just when it seems like the New York idea is a bust, a fateful fender bender changes everything.
After Allison’s fender bender, she’s told to go to the home of the owner of the car she hit. And she’s in for a surprise, not only does he live in the penthouse apartment of a luxurious Central Park West building, he’s a spoiled and hungover teenager. As her mother instinct goes into full gear, Allison finds out this is Carter Reid—a Justin Bieber-like bratty pop star who has been cast in a new Broadway musical. And in the most unusual of circumstances, Allison eventually ends up as Carter’s assistant. But he makes sure it’s no easy ride.
Instead of having the two characters the same age, I love that Poeppel chose to have this dynamic between Allison and Carter. She becomes sort of a mother figure for him. It’s such an interesting relationship and showcases tough love at its finest.
So as you can see the cover is bright and full of stars so you know there’ll be an entertainment industry storyline come in. Before reading the book description, I actually thought the story would take place in Hollywood so it was refreshing to find out it’s about a show on Broadway. This reads as a love letter to Broadway as it goes behind the scenes of producing a high-profile show. In this case, it’s a modern spin on the Charlie Chaplin movie, “Limelight.” Beyond Carter, Poeppel casted Kevin Kline and Melissa McCarthy in roles. We also get to know the director and the unique producers. The way Poeppel fleshed it out, you almost forget it’s not a real show!
Challenges of modern-day mothers
As you can see there’s plenty going on with Carter and the show but Allison is also trying to deal with her kids difficult adjustment to moving to New York. Never living in New York myself, I had no idea the tedious process it is for kids to get into schools in the city. You feel for Allison as she navigates moody teenagers, unfriendly moms in the carpool lines and just sometimes feeling at a loss at parenting in general. Sometimes in stories, teenagers don’t actually sound like teenagers but they definitely do in this one. And you’ll probably feel a bit of déjà vu with some of the conversations between Allison and her kids, especially with her teenager daughter.
Yes, Allison is an imperfect parent but her heart is always in the right place. Every challenge she meets head on and you’ll root for her every step of the way.
Don’t think twice about it. Pick up this lovely and entertaining summer read.