Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review (40) - Smile for the Camera: A Memoir by Kelle James

Smile for the Camera: A Memoir
by Kelle James

Series: None
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date:
November 2, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 392
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Challenge: None

My Thoughts: 
Sick of dealing with an abusive father, Kelle decides it’s time to leave home and heads for the Big Apple. She has dreams of becoming a model and New York City is just the place to make them come true. She is sure she will find fame, fortune, and people who treat her right, but what she gets is definitely not what she expected. Young, beautiful, and naive, she is taken advantage of by the men she encounters, gets herself mixed up in the most famous murder trial of the 70s, and still manages to make a name for herself in the modeling and acting industry. This is the true story of a 16 year-old girl who, with nothing to her name, fights for what she wants and overcomes adversary. 

I actually wasn’t planning on reviewing this since I almost felt like I was going to be reviewing her life, but I liked it so much that I needed to share! I normally shy away from anything that has to do with actual, real people, but this doesn’t even feel like a memoir most of the time--or at all really. I seriously wish my life had been this exciting at 16. She had more adventure in that year and a half then I’ll probably ever see in my entire life! But I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her shoes because she did not have an easy childhood. Throughout the book, she replays memories of her violent and verbally abusive father. I’m glad she had the courage to leave home when she did and that she gave her brother the courage to do the same. Unfortunately though, abuse is all she knows and, because she is extremely naive and new to the big city life, she gets sexually abused and pushed around. 
Kelle during a photoshoot

Luckily she meets and befriends people that show her what love really is. She encounters a lot of kind people her first week in the city, but two make a lasting impression. There is Rayna, also an aspiring model, who becomes Kelle’s best friend. Together they experience being broke and homeless and support each other through their various struggles. And there is Buddy who becomes almost like a father figure to her and is the first person to tell Kelle that he is proud of her. Despite what he is convicted of later in the book, I thought he was an alright guy. He is one of the few men she meets that doesn’t try to sleep with her and he constantly helps the two girls throughout the book. 

I think this is a great book for anyone, even those who, like me, do not normally go for this type of read; the writing is simple and the story is interesting.

Click here for more pictures of people and places mentioned in the book!


  1. your review was really astounding I'll be getting this book in no time at all keep it up I'm gonna really smile for the camera cheese :)

    Cool Book Reviews


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