Fawcett began its Red Seal line in 1952. The books were longer than the usual Gold Medals (nearly 300 pp.) and more expensive (35¢). I'm not sure if they were meant to be more literary. The Golden Sorrow is at least unusual for paperback originals. The book has plenty of sex but no crime, no suspense and no action sequences to speak of. Its downbeat story offers a sharp contrast to Pratt's other Hollywood novel, Miss Dilly Says No, a cheerful satire of movie studios.
The Golden Sorrow by Theodore Pratt. Fawcett Red Seal (1952), 282 pp.
As the story opens, young leading man Danny Rattigan is about to face reporters at his San Fernando Valley ranch. They've come to hear his account of the previous night's brawl, one in which Danny was badly beaten. Neither his attractive business manager, Patrice Durant, nor his endlessly disapproving sister, Maureen, is willing to provide moral support at the meeting. But his agent, Maxie Rosen, calls to reassure him that the studio won't give him grief over the bad publicity. The story then flashes back to Danny's boyhood on Long Island, his teenage crush on Patrice, the beginnings of his acting career, and his exploitative relationships with women.
By the time this book was written, stories bebunking the glamour of Hollywood were old hat. So Pratt is not primarily interested in exposing Danny's faults -- his numerous sexual liaisons, his drinking and his brawling. Instead, the author wants to shed light on his protagonist's shortcomings by hearkening back to Danny's upbringing in a motherless family from the wrong side of the tracks. Pratt does not quite trust his readers to figure all this out , so at one point he has a character explain Danny's subconscious motives in detail. Although published in 1952, the book is discouragingly up to date. Its tale of a young man unable to cope with celebrity has been repeated many times in real life over the past fifty years. The book uses a simple style and moves quickly. Fans of Hollywood fiction are likely to enjoy it.