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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
It's Alive! by Julian David Stone takes you into a fascinating and enthralling era behind one of the most iconic films in Hollywood. The very day he is going to be named vice president of Universal Pictures, Junior Laemmle is having a panic attack—the last thing he needs at such a crucial moment when he is just a step closer to the icing on the cake. He has been an instrumental figure in the success of producing the film Dracula, and he believes that he has rightfully earned his father’s approval to take the helm at a major film production company. But things go in a direction that Junior least expects. He has been spending a lot of time making his dad see things the same way, but Carl Laemmle Sr. is old school and prefers to stick to the tried and tested. He has doubts about the commercial appeal of Frankenstein. Production and casting issues add to Junior’s dilemma as the story becomes more intense in reaching its climactic point.
Reading Julian David Stone is like reading T.C. Boyle in the sense that Stone has a similar penchant for meticulous details and research when it comes to writing a period story. It is at the very beginning of Junior’s panic attack that the story and characters begin to develop. Junior has a very pronounced point of view and Stone delivers it convincingly. All the people he works with and his relationship with his father, despite being filled with tension, feel natural and believable. These are all strengths that give this novel its appeal. It is never easy to write a historical or period novel, but Stone is successful by creating convincing characters and placing them in situations that strongly reflect reality. It’s Alive! is an engrossing must-read that you should include in your reading list.