Film follows three women who moved to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Tash Daniels aspires to be a filmmaker. Her short film was rejected from festivals, she has a stack of rejected grant proposals, and she lost her internship at a studio when her boss harassed her, forcing her to take a job as a personal shopper. Lu K is a hot deejay slowly working her way up the club scene, but no one is doing her any favors. Fiercely independent, she’s at a loss when she meets Paisley, a woman who captures her heart. Monroe Preston is the glamorous wife of a Hollywood studio head. As a teenager she moved to LA in search of a “big” life, but now she wonders if reality measures up to fantasy. When a man in their circle finds sudden fame, each of these women is catapulted on a journey of self-discovery. As the characters’ stories unfold, each is forced to confront how her past has shaped her fears and to choose how she wants to live in the present.
Film is a novel about the underside of dreams, the struggle to find internal strength, the power of art, and what it truly means to live a “big” life. Frequently shown bathed in the glow of the silver screen, the characters in
Film show us how the arts can reignite the light within. With a tribute to popular culture, set against the backdrop of Tinseltown,
Film celebrates how the art we make and consume can shape our stories, scene by scene. Although fictional,
Film is loosely grounded in interview research. It can be read entirely for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in women’s studies/gender studies, sociology, psychology, communication, popular culture, media studies, or qualitative inquiry.
Film can be read as a stand-alone novel or as a sequel to the bestselling novel,
Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., is an award-winning independent sociologist and best-selling author.
“Placing women’s experiences in the forefront,
Film tells a powerful story of three women who overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dreams. With a subtext of sexual harassment and inequality especially relevant in the #MeToo era, this timely novel illustrates the cultural context in which girls and women live their lives. An engaging read, Film is sure to stimulate reflection, both personally and more broadly in book clubs and courses on media and gender.”
— Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., author, feminist activist, and creator of the Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series
Film is a tour de force! This timely novel speaks powerfully to the challenges many women face. Can we be in meaningful and fulfilling relationships and still hold true to ourselves and fulfill our own ‘big’ dreams? Film transported me to Los Angeles, the place to be for creatives who want to succeed. It is the apex of pop culture, and for the characters in Film, pop culture is not trivial: it is part of who they are in their hearts and souls. They want to both be ‘in’ it and move it to new places. Leavy’s talent for combining the fun and glitz of LA with profound cultural insights is unmatched. Film is a page-turner, but also dives deep beneath the surface. This is Leavy’s greatest skill, along with her ability to write characters with whom we empathize. The people in this novel bring with them their familial histories, their #MeToo experiences, and their desire to make it in La La Land. They have ‘big’ dreams, and we root for them as they overcome their obstacles and discover what really matters. I love how the characters in the novel are not in lockstep with each other, but can fully support each other’s dreams and help each other overcome their past failures and pains. Reading about these women makes me feel good, as if my contribution to the Women’s Movement has helped create their lives. I couldn’t put this book down. Film takes you inside yourself, and outside, too. It inspires a belief in possibility. Bravo! I love all of Patricia Leavy’s novels, but Film is absolutely gorgeous.”
— Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, and author of Lone Twin
“An engaging reminder of the struggles that come and go in the course of a life,
Film captures the experiences of multiple women at transformational times in their lives and demonstrates the importance of persistence, creativity, and support for the achievement of one’s dreams. Returning to the life of Tash Daniels, from Leavy’s prior novels Blue and Low-Fat Love, the novel swims at a beautiful pace with an undercurrent of sexual and gender tension and conflict especially fitting for talking and teaching about our current social world.”
— J. E. Sumerau, Ph.D., The University of Tampa, and author of Palmetto Rose
Film is a novel I had no idea I was waiting for until I started to read it. We are immersed in a world tailor-made for any audience, one which offers an insightful glimpse into life after college and those confusing years of our twenties. The concept of a ‘big life’ is returned to in the world of Tash, now a college graduate finding her way through the thorny world of deciding and accepting her future. At what point do we choose our ‘big life’ or learn to accept that ‘big’ means happiness and not wealth? When do we leave behind our unrealistic expectations of easily attained success and embrace our true passions, even if they are hard and don’t immediately offer a path to material prosperity? How do we get in our own way? How do unaddressed past traumas leak into our present and prevent us from moving forward? There are so many elements that demonstrate Leavy’s expertise in explicitly and implicitly drawing out the truths at the heart of humanity in today’s world in ways we can all relate to, while creating a story that feels incredibly intimate. But Leavy’s greatest talent is writing stories for varied audiences that can be read at multiple levels, from consuming them in an afternoon on the beach to doing a deep analysis in the classroom. I’ve used Low-Fat Love (2011) in class many times because it resonates with the students in ways general historical material cannot, feeling accessible and thus understandable. Film provides an even more nuanced look into a phase of life already murky in some imaginations, yet one we can recognize at whatever point of life’s journey we are on. Leavy’s diverse range of characters helps students see versions of themselves while developing empathy for the complexities of difference. It’s also her bravest novel, dealing with issues sparked by the current #MeToo Movement, in a sensitive yet direct way that will resonate with any reader. Her characters help us all realize that we only really see shades of people, tips of icebergs that often hide deep wells of pain. I could write a thousand pages of reasons to consume this novel on a lazy afternoon, since once you start you won’t be able to put it down. I could even write a long list of reasons to use this novel in your Contemporary History, Social Work, Communication, Film, Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology, and Capstone courses. In the end, you should just read it and judge for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
— U. Melissa Anyiwo, Ph.D., Curry College, and editor of Gender Warriors: Teaching Contemporary Urban Fantasy
“This novel is written for anyone who has ever confronted the shadow side of their life to find the courage to light their own fire.
Film provides inspirational fuel for forging the life, work, and art we need by watching Tash, Lu, and Monroe realize their own passions in a sexist culture.
Film is a feminist fist bump and a gorgeous visual of what women helping women and being your own muse looks like on the big screen of our lives.”
— Sandra L. Faulkner, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University, and author of Poetic Inquiry: Craft, Method, and Practice
“Once you pick up this book, you won’t be able to put it down. Like Leavy’s previous novels,
Film shows us how beautiful our lives can be when we embrace possibilities. It’s a powerful commentary on living your best life, one that will leave you inspired.”
— Jessica Smartt Gullion, Ph.D., Texas Woman’s University, and author of Writing Ethnography
Film is the final installment in a trilogy that begins with
Low-Fat Love and continues with
Blue. These three novels operate as research artworks as well as a suite of connected, yet stand-alone stories.
Film, like the other books, is a love letter to popular culture, and in particular, illustrates how art may sustain us through life’s challenges when those around us may not. This latest work has its own strong sense of self, whilst simultaneously being a novel about how we must maintain our own sense of authentic self, remaining true to our creative identities, practices, and aspirations. In this way, Film is a staging of desire, possibility, and sensitivity. As always, Patricia Leavy has gifted us a highly readable, enjoyable, and engaging public and (most importantly, in my view) accessible scholarship. Her voice is palpable and inviting as she draws vivid and knowable, strong and complex characters, to whom many can relate in their struggles for success and desire. Leavy’s refreshing and authentic dialogue and relatable plotting defy the complexity of the work and its subtexts about opportunity, creativity, and privilege, as well as feminism, equity, and sexuality. A proactive reader will note the theory in the work, will hear the research at its core. Some will read for the absolute entertainment value. This is arts-based research at its best: accessible and refreshing to read, yet layered and nuanced in its textures of scholarship. Patricia Leavy has delivered another title in her original and unique voice, yet again demonstrating her mettle as a masterful writer of fiction as research.”
— Alexandra Lasczik, Ph.D., Southern Cross University