Title: Stranger In The Mirror
Author: Sidney Sheldon
Genre: Crime Thriller
First Publication: 1976
Major Characters: Toby Temple, Jill Castle, Clifton Lawrence, David Kenyon
Setting Place: Hollywood, USA
Narration: Third Person
Theme: Emotional extremes of success and failure and how people inevitably become victims of time.
Book Summary: Stranger In The Mirror
A Stranger in the Mirror is a 1976 novel written by Sidney Sheldon. The novel is one of the earliest of Sheldon’s works, but contains the typical Sheldon fast-paced narration and several narrative techniques, with the exception of a twist ending. The novel tells the life story of two fictitious Hollywood celebrities – Toby Temple and Jill Castle.
From humble beginnings, Toby Temple becomes a superstar. He knows what he wants – and he always makes sure he gets what he wants. He is the world’s funniest comedian, loved by presidents, lusted after by women. But, deep down, he yearns for love and stability. Jill Castle has always been an outsider, desperate to be accepted. Despite her great beauty, she finds breaking into Hollywood as an actress impossible without auditioning on the Directors’ infamous casting couches. But, with one glance, Toby falls for Jill’s beauty and sweeps her out of obscurity to stardom by his side. Now, she can get the revenge she has always longed for…
Book Review: Stranger In The Mirror
Every coin has two sides. If you think Toby Temple is just a plain jerk when you start reading the book Stranger In The Mirror, you might be wrong because he’s the kind of person who’s willing to waive medical bills of a dying person. But he’s still a jerk, who manipulate others to feed his own insecurities. After making a teen pregnant during high school, Toby fled away from his hometown and his sin to pursue his mother’s dream to see him successful someday. Meanwhile on the other end, Josephine Czinski changed her name to Jill Castle and fled away from her hometown to mend her broken heart after she saw her mother bringing the old wedding dress for the wedding of David Kenyon and Cissy Topping.
There’s not much difference between Jill and Toby. Both of them are very much the same, full of vengeance and ill feelings towards the world.
The story took a twist when Toby met Jill, together they rule Hollywood and show the world the dark side of the show business. At the end of the story, revenge outruled peace and happiness. Sad to see Toby and Jill’s life ended in a very sad way. Both of them were eaten by their own creed and vengeance.
The only thing that I didn’t like so much is the amorality of the main characters. They were vengeful, wicked, ungrateful.
Sidney Sheldon’s portrayal of the showbiz world was simply staggering and informative. Well, he was in that business for decades, so he knew what he was talking about. Nonetheless, Sheldon has done it again! The twists were so unexpected, I didn’t see Jill’s last cruel action and David’s secret coming.