A Mouse Is Born by Anita Loos. Doubleday (1951), 216 pp.
Famous movie star Effie Huntriss lies in bed, bored and depressed. Her physician, Dockie Davis, has ordered her to stay there for her entire pregnancy. So her film career, which has been based more on sex appeal than acting talent, has come to a halt. She looks forward to having Mouse, as she calls the baby, even as she realizes that the father, self-obsessed actor Clyde Babcock, may not stick around much longer than her previous husbands. To give herself something to do, Effie decides to write a book about her life and to put it in the form of letters to Mouse.
Happily for the reader, Effie’s prose bubbles over with zany misspellings, strange capitalizations, and inappropriate clichés. Her analysis of events is sometimes equally misguided and other times surprisingly trenchant. As the story proceeds, Effie describes movie people, defines Hollywood, explains sex appeal, recounts her upbringing and details the highs and lows of her career. While the writing is funny, the story has pathetical elements. Effie craves the respect of her associates, but they merely use her to attain their own goals. She wants men to love her as a person, but they only care about her body. Movies have made her famous but not happy. All in all, Loos has pulled off the trick of making Effie amusing and sad at the same time. Fans of Hollywood fiction will probably enjoy the book.