Michael Callahan’s novel Searching for Grace Kelly is set at New York’s Barbizon Hotel for women in 1955. The story revolves around three young women who become friends. Debutante Laura Dixon is spending a month in the city as a “guest editor” for “Mademoiselle” magazine and is dreaming of being a writer. Laura’s roommate is Dolores Hickey, known as Dolly. Dolly is studying at Katie Gibbs Secretarial School and working a as a typist in a small publishing house. British redhead Vivian Windsor works as a cigarette girl and is a singer waiting for her big break.
The story follows them through a summer of jobs, dates, parties, scandals and drama. Just what you would expect in a hotel full of young women. It is like Sex in the City 1955’s style.
The story reminds me of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and is written just as glamorously with just as much crazy. I think that is why I enjoyed this book so much. I was reading it and didn’t realize that the author was a man. It is amazing to me the perspicacity on how young women think that came from a male author. He must have done loads of research and spoke to several older women who were in their twenties in 1955 to get the insight. It also has a Gatsby feel to it as well.
Overall a well written story that is completely engaging and brilliant. I can see it as a movie maybe directed by John Madden. I am going to keep an eye out for this author’s next release.