c. 2019


Book Awards

Book Awards

Next Generation
Indie Book Awards

She was the laughing girl with the black helmet of hair and the sexy bangs… The new novel Lulu finds film star Louise Brooks in 1928 Berlin playing the role of her life: A childlike woman named Lulu, whose sexual desires destroy her, and destroy the men in her life as well. Actress and character became joyfully, hopelessly enmeshed in work that blends fiction with non-fiction.

Her volatile relationship with her director is at the center of the book as she grapples with trying to make sense of her life. It's a modern tale of what it means to be a woman, an actress, and a sexual being.

Louise Brooks was a twentieth century icon. To modern fans, her hair is possibly her most enduring feature—that black helmet fashion magazines still call the "Louise Brooks Bob." She was extraordinary beautiful, appearing on film as a luminous icon. But her legacy is deeper and far more complex than that. She was modern without trying—a "Method actor" before the Method even existed.

During the late 1920's, the modern dancer and Ziegfeld girl inspired both the long running comic strip Dixie Dugan as well as the stage play Show Girl. In 1927, according to biographer Barry Paris, Louise Brooks was the fourth most written about actress in national magazines—after Clara Bow, Joan Crawford and Colleen Moore.

Brooks' career in Hollywood is overshadowed by what is certainly her best-known role, as "Lulu" in the classic German film, Pandora's Box (1929). Under the direction of G. W. Pabst, Brooks' subtle, erotically-charged style of acting emerged. Upon its release, the film largely failed in Germany and was barely reviewed in the United States. Brooks' style was so natural that critics complained she either couldn't or didn't act. Today, Pandora's Box is considered a landmark of the silent cinema.

Brooks made two other films in Europe, Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), again with Pabst, and Prix de Beauté (1930), an early French silent/sound hybrid. With the promise of work in Europe, Brooks quit Paramount in an act of defiance.

Upon her return to the United States, she spurned the offers that made stars of such leading ladies as Jean Harlow and Mae Clark. Soon she was relegated to supporting roles in B-movies.

In life, Louise Brooks was rarely able to balance these elements—a problem hardly unique to her time. Brilliant people with enormous promise still often soar brightly, then crash and burn—from Garland and Monroe to Belushi and Amy Winehouse.

Perhaps it came too little, and far too late, but her immortality was secured when Henri Langlois of the Cinémathèque Française declared decades later:

“There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Louise Brooks!”

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“This is like a scandalous Jackie Collins novel set in the 1920's, but written with the sophisticated wit of a man who in a past life, was surely there to see it all. It makes for a book you simply can't put down. And why would you?”

—KAREN McCULLAH, bestselling author of The Bachelorette Party and screenwriter of Girls Trip, Legally Blonde, The House Bunny, and The Ugly Truth

“If you thought Louise Brooks’ own Lulu in Hollywood told the whole story – even the real story – you might be wrong. Because Samuel Bernstein’s Lulu is Lulu uncensored: a 'true life novel' of how Louise became Lulu, a screen siren with a brain and a G-spot. From old Hollywood to pre-Nazi Berlin, Bernstein goes off script in the most tantalizing way. If G. W. Pabst’s 'lost girl' were around today to read this book, I have a sneaking suspicion she just might say, 'Now why didn’t I think of that?'”

—KIM POWERS, bestselling author of Capote in Kansas and The History of Swimming

“In his follow up to the wonderful Mr. Confidential Samuel Bernstein brilliantly brings actress Louise Brooks to life in this evocative non-fiction novel that blends both fact and fiction in a way that will keep readers turning pages and begging for more!”

—JULIE KENNER, bestselling author of Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom and The Prada Paradox