An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood:
How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House
By: Darlene Craviotto
A well-crafted piece of writing will keep me reading, non-stop, until the end. I know good writing: It flows effortlessly, it keeps you engaged and it excites you—making you want more. An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House by Darlene Craviotto was such a book. In fact, I read it in one sitting!
Any discriminating reader who appreciates a writer who has honed their craft, will immediately sense that Craviotto knows what she is doing. This book moves along at the speed of a film, which makes perfect sense seeing she is actually a screenwriter by trade. I was fully engaged by the scenes she set, the characters portrayed and the conflict created throughout. I think it added to my interest knowing that this was based on factual events in her life and she wasn’t afraid to share her world with complete strangers.
There is a raw vulnerability that is thematic in An Agoraphobics Guide to Hollywood; Craviotto draws the reader into her personal struggle with agoraphobia as it affects her life, family and career. Much is revealed about her life in what seems like a flash. Again, a skill one finely tunes in screenwriting by getting the audience to relate to the main character, either empathetically or sympathetically, so they are with them `till the end. The personal struggle is hidden well from the outside world after years of practice, however, in an instant Craviotto has to make a risky choice.
The shift in the story ensues when the opportunity that projects Craviotto out of her “comfort” zone (having to work, one on one, with the late Michael Jackson at his place of choice), forces her to lay down her security. If she wants to be successful she has no choice: she either finds her strength or loses out on the project of a lifetime. It’s exciting to be let in on how she opts to move ahead, taking baby steps or leaps, depending on the situation.
The other conflict that arises is a sub-story that involved Mr. Jackson. I, personally, was glad she opted not to dedicate a large portion of the book focusing on how to handle what she discovered. This, to me, shows a great deal of class on the part of Craviotto.
Overall, the ebb and flow of the book is wonderful. A refined reader will get a true sense of how close to this story the author is, how much of her heart went into telling it and how freeing the experience was for her. The ending gives you closure, even though she may have never truly received it. After all that work, on a script that was canned, and the stress of overcoming all she did while working on “Project M”, one senses that Craviotto was grateful to have regained her life, in more ways than one.
Bravo on work well done!
If you would like to learn more about Darlene Craviotto or follow her blog you can find it here: