Book Review: End Credits: How I Broke Up with Hollywood by Patty Lin
Reviewed by Tess Tabak
Writer Patty Lin crawled her way up from working in the lowest rung of TV to writing for hit shows like Friends, Desperate Housewives and Breaking Bad. Who would walk away from a career like that – and why?
End Credits: How I Broke Up with Hollywood Book is a very honest, down to earth memoir that explains just exactly why Lin decided to “break up” with Hollywood. Starting from her upbringing in an Asian-American household, Lin explores the factors that crafted her perfectionism and drive to succeed – two qualities that the TV industry quashed. Lin’s plight is presented compellingly, a tell-all in a conversational tone that details the highs and lows of the job. There are some high highs (partying with Selma Hayek, anyone?) and low lows (skipped meals, skipped holidays and a few broken teeth) that make this an engaging roller coaster ride.
Lin dovetails the story of finding her professional autonomy with her romantic tribulations. She mirrors her toxic relationship with TV with her toxic long-term boyfriend Carl, who happened to be the one to get her her very first opportunity in the biz and encouraged her to put ambition over personal needs. Their unhappy relationship will be familiar to many women who’ve dated men who puts their career over everything else. Lin went on a long journey of self-discovery and spirituality, and she shares some of the lessons she learned during the course of this mostly unhappy period in her life that will be relatable even if you don’t work in TV.
One thing I was a little disappointed in is that Lin never connects the emphasis on perfectionism she faced growing up to the way that the TV industry failed her. She touches on some of the ways it’s more difficult to succeed in TV as a woman and a minority, including the social isolation and alienation of being treated as less than, but she never makes a direct parallel between the enormous pressure her parents put on her to succeed to the way she cracks under the stress of her film industry jobs. The industry she portrays is definitely toxic, and there’s a reason writers are currently on strike, but I think she missed an opportunity to reflect on the extra challenges she faced and deliver a more nuanced message. I couldn’t help wondering at times if it wouldn’t have been easier for her if she had entered the industry more inured to criticism, as some of her white male colleagues probably were. Overall though, this was a fascinating read on one person’s experience with the industry, including behind the scenes insights on some of the biggest shows of the aughts.
End Credits will be available August 29 by Zibby Books.
The Furious Gazelle received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.