Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Boy Who Looked Like Shirley Temple

By Bill Mahan

Billy and his family leave their home for the greener pastures of California in the 1930s, hoping for better times there. They find a place to rent in Culver City and are down to just a few dollars. The dad is a hopeless hypochondriac and the mom finds a job only to have her boss skip town without paying her for two weeks of work. Looks like it's up to the two kids to support the family, which they manage to do pretty well by stealing lima beans from a nearby farm and selling them on the street. The customers are lining up for the discount beans but then the mom finds out what her two kids have been doing and puts a stop to it, despite the fact that the family is on the verge of being evicted from their crummy little house. But then cute little Billy gets discovered by Hollywood and things start to look up...maybe.

This was a fun and enjoyable read, a great trip back to a time that makes our current economic struggles look like child's play. It was a real hand-to-mouth existence but Billy and his older sister managed to keep the family going despite their parents' incompetence. I really enjoyed this very amusing story of a Depression-era family coping with hard times.


Kelly Mahan Jaramillo said...

The author of this book was my father, Bill Mahan, and for the most part it is the true story of his life as a child actor.

I greatly appreciate your positive review of his book. He was a funny, complicated, tortured, wonderful guy, and not a day goes by that I do not think of him and miss him terribly. I am very lucky to have had a father who wrote semi-autobiographical books, plus a syndicated column, as even though he died near ten years ago, he does still just beam right through those pages.

Many thanks,

Kelly Mahan Jaramillo

Leesa Dee said...

Thank you for your comment. What a thrill to hear from Mr. Mahan's family! I really enjoyed the book, it made me laugh. I am sorry to hear that he is gone.