Nubian Circle Book Club

Who We Are
NCBC Guidelines
NCBC Calendar
NCBC Book Reviews
What We've Read (2001-Present)
Blind Ambitions Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Lolita File's Blind Ambitions is a quick, easy read about an account of what Hollywood is like from multiple points of view: the actors, writers', producers', and developers' as well.   Most books about Hollywood focus on the troubles of actors, but Files makes the case that the people behind the scenes (the movers and shakers) have an equally hard time as well.

Primarily narrated by African-American characters, "Blind Ambitions" details the struggles of three African-American women:  Desi, a good girl from the South nearly washed up actress desperately hoping for a big break; Sharon, the marijuana smoking, no-nonsense, dreadlock-wearing, award-winning producer; and Bettina, the drop-dead gorgeous receptionist who wants to be a screenwriter (and will do anything to get it), trying to succeed in Hollywood, where the power structure is largely dominated by Caucasians.  Files provides detailed accounts of how a television series is developed, along with all of the manipulations, lies, and power plays involved. This is where "Blind Ambitions" is most entertaining the backstabbing, conniving, and vengeful episodes read like a soap opera drama.

For all the Lolita Files fans out there, this reader found this book to be her weakest in her body of work to date.  The plot was soft in that it starts out baiting the reader with a hidden secret that really has no impact to the critical path of the plot.  Files drops clues through a series of ill-placed flashbacks but fails to connect the dots with fluidity.  The result left this reader feeling like this mystery was an afterthought sprinkled in after the main story line was complete because it has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in the story.

Character depth is also mixed because she does a good job with Desi, Steve, and Sharon but a relatively poor job with Randall and Bettina.  The character motivations are inexplicable or contradictory, and no follow up explanation is ever provided. For instance, Randalls interest in Desi to play the main character in his new television series (to the point of providing her a lucrative contract with huge signing bonus), even though Desi is a washed up actress one step from becoming a department store buyer, seems highly unlikely and unrealistic.  The author does hint that Randall has more than a professional interest in Desi, but it is never made apparent to the reader because there is no story line for their growth as a couple. Another example is Bettinas scorned lover who vows revenge but does not act on it even when given the perfect opportunity.  There are several other similar loose ends in the book that causes point reduction and makes it less than satisfying as a complete story. However, the book's main draw is the surreptitious world of Hollywood.  It is for this reason that "Blind Ambitions" is worth reading.

One can guess that Blind Ambitions is not my favorite book by Ms. Files even though she is one of my favorite authors.  In this readers opinion, the ending was slightly disappointing (everything was a little too neatly wrapped up) and the discovery of the identity of the anonymous character in the prologue was REALLY upsetting.  It was not difficult to figure out which character it was (I figured out the identity about half way through the book) except I was so disappointed that it was that particular character!  Read the book and you will understand why.  Nonetheless, Blind Ambitions is still recommended for an entertaining afternoon read because it is very well-written with a plausible storyline, quasi-acceptable character development, vivid imagery, and a couple of plot twists and turns that will keep you mildly entertained during a hot summer afternoon.

The Nubian Cirlce Book Club rating for Blind Ambitions is

3 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us at this address: