My Hollywood--among the Best Books of 2010:
The New Yorker
The San Francisco Chronicle
The Boston Phoenix
The Atlantic Monthly
“Simpson's massive gifts—for unflinching precision, for artful indirection and for the deft unfurling of imagery—are on vivid display in My Hollywood, a book that carries us down deep, into the darkness of two distinct worlds, and lights them up, finding all the comedy in the ways they are the same world, and all the tragedy in the unbridgeable distance between them.”
“This big gorgeous book is at once an entertaining, socially astute upstairs-downstairs drama and a profound meditation on the shifting and often competing demands of love and work in a woman’s life. One more time, Mona Simpson has burrowed deep into the American family to extract the shivering truth about the many trade-offs women face in raising children today. Lola, the Filipina nanny at the heart of the book, is surely one of the great literary creations of our time. My Hollywood is vast in scope, exquisite in detail, rife with pleasures.”
"A darkly beautiful atlas of the American promised land, and a definitive novel of modern domesticity. Brilliant, in short."
"Simpson’s taut prose allows her to drill into the heart of relationships, often times with a single biting sentence. Funny, smart, and filled with razor sharp observations about life and parenthood, Simpson’s latest is well worth the wait."
Simpson penetrates the layers of Filipino culture, parsing hairstyles, neighborhoods, and dialects. The resulting characters are rounded, real people…. None of the questions My Hollywood raises—questions of love, children, parenting, the coexistence of creative work and children, the strains of modern marriage—have easy answers…. Simpson’s writing is honed, precise, sharp as the inland heat.
-Diane Leach, Pop Matters
-Diane Leach, Pop Matters
"Lola, with her mellifluous voice and wonderfully inventive English, rules. In her arresting portrayals of Lola and her nanny and housekeeper friends, Simpson explores a facet of American society rarely depicted with such insight and appreciation. As Lola and Claire tell their intertwined stories, Simpson subtly but powerfully traces the persistence of sexism and prejudice, the fear and injustice inherent in the predicaments of immigrants, and the complexity and essentiality of all domestic relationships."
Donna Seaman, Booklist
“Simpson works her habitual magic, showing how love travels, ownerless and unbidden, among children who need adults, and adults who need children. ‘Children, they are dependent for their life,’ Lola observed back in Santa Monica. But so are adults. Sitting with her friends, drinking ‘nonfat lattes, ice blendeds, a dozen small consolations,’ Claire asks, ‘For what, exactly, were mothers always being consoled?’ Simpson gently suggests an answer: for fear of failing in their responsibilities to their children and themselves, the extent of which they’ll know only when their children grow up, and tell them what they were.”
Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review
"My Hollywood Mona Simpson's beautifully realized new novel, tells the story of a bewildered new mother and the live-in nanny she hires so she can continue her work as a composer. An illustration of the difficulties of raising children in dual-career households, as well as the undervalued lives of the domestic workers summoned to help, it's one the most insightful books in years about contemporary American life."
Gregory Leon Miller, San Francisco Chronicle