Written by Laura Mazzuca Toops
Published by LTD Books
Review by Gilliana Ampano
Imagine yourself side by side with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, eating at the Brown Derby, and attending movies at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This is the world that Laura Mazzuca Toops brings to life in her novel, Slapstick.
Slapstick is about silent film comedian/star Harold Gilbert, who could be based on real-life silent film comedian Buster Keaton with his penchant for doing his own (sometimes dangerous) stunts in front of the camera. Gilbert has troubles at home with his wife, an interesting side course in love, and he faces many of the problems that most silent comedians had to deal with–the box office and talkies. In the end, Gilbert may not be remembered except as a side note.
There is remarkably little literature set during the silent film era when some of the most colorful characters lived, and Slapstick helps to fill that gap. In simple, straightforward prose, Mazzuca brings 1920s Hollywood to life with realistic characters and an honest portrayal of the price of fame.
Gilliana Ampano is a writer and teacher originally from Rome, Italy. She is now living in New York with her husband and three sons. In her spare time, she is writing an historical novel set in Renaissance Florence.