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Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams

Narrated by: Josh Hurley
Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"There was no way moving to Los Angeles was going to make me give up my soul. After all, I'd already seen all the movies about Hollywood. I knew how things worked."

Twenty-four-year-old Russel Middebrook and his boyfriend have moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter.

Almost right away, in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets Isaac Brander - a once-famous film producer who is convinced he can turn Russel's screenplay into a movie.

Russel knows that success can't possibly come this easy. After all, most of Russel's Los Angeles friends are so desperate to make it that it's downright scary. His ex-boyfriend, Otto, is trying everything to become an actor, and Daniel, the sexy neighbor, doesn't even need a casting couch to get naked.

So what's the catch with Mr. Brander? Could it be that movies about Hollywood don't tell the whole truth? But what does that mean for Russel's soul?

Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams, a companion book to Brent Hartinger's The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know, is a fast-paced, funny story about the price of fame in Hollywood: the hilarious lengths people will go to achieve it, and the touching secret to survival when things don't work out exactly as planned.

©2015 Brent Hartinger (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A sharp, canny, highly engaging tour through a Hollywood of cunning characters and colorful intrigues, guided by the clever voice of Russel Middlebrook as an eager young screenwriter trying to bust in. I was charmed by every sly, sexy page." (Barry Sandler, screenwriter of Making Love and Crimes of Passion)
"With his trademark wit, warmth, and economy, Brent Hartinger brilliantly captures what it's like to move to L.A. and try and make it Hollywood: the highs and the lows, the friends and the phonies, the fun and the frustration. And by the way, is it too late for me to be Russel Middlebrook when I grow up?" (Dennis Hensley, co-screenwriter of Testosterone; author of Misadventures in the 213)

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 22-04-2016

Didn't connect to the story.

Any additional comments?

Having just listened to The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know I was up to date on what’s been happening in Russel’s life. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams picks up a few months after the first story leaves off, with twenty-four year old Russel Middlebrook and his boyfriend, Kevin Land, having moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter.

I wanted to like the story, I really did, but in truth I didn’t connect with it. Again told completely from Russel’s POV, I felt like he was a lot more self-centered in this story than the last.

I liked some things, but didn’t like others. I liked Kevin and seeing them together, but didn’t like the way Russel treated Kevin for most of the story. I liked Otto and was happy to see him succeed. I didn’t like or see the point of Daniel’s storyline.

I felt like Russel’s ambition in this eclipsed his relationship at times, and I’m sorry to admit the whole storyline of his screenplay and broken dreams just bored me.

Also, I didn’t understand what happened to Russel’s friends Gunnar and Minh. No phone calls or even a single mention? What happened to them?

Once again though, I really enjoyed the narration. Josh Hurley really does an excellent job with the different character voices, and he tackles the different emotions of the story well.

I’m looking forward to more of Josh Hurley’s narration and spending time with the whole gang in the third (and final?) story in the series, The Road to Amazing (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #3), which will feature Russel and Kevin’s wedding weekend in Washington.

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  • FORMER Kindle Customer
  • 08-04-2019

What if you dream you know what you don't know?

Another fine exibition of the ideals and realities of life as people struggle at surviving in Los Angeles. Of course the usual characters lie, steal, and cheat each other, sometimes not knowing or meaning to do so. But the young hot boy disappears for exposure, the scarred actor finally gets noticed for his scars, the old producer is impotent at movies, others just walk away from the slight of tongue tricks. The dream is magical, the reality is miserable, and the life is unbearable. Sex and money drive the SoCal scene just like in the movies, but without pleasure or reward for most.

LA is where everyone is taking advantage of everyone else and they all get screwed in the end, usually without closing credits. The sun may shine and the beaches may be beautiful, but the whole area is a dump surrounded by mountain top experiences before washing away in the sewers into the ocean.

Those trying to live there lie to themselves and everyone else about how great it is life in the perfect weather and scenery, but deny the reality that their dream will not happen and they will struggle until they die.

Anywhere else is a place to live, but does not have the dream. To live in the "virtual reality" of a bad computer game with worthless rewards are better than enjoying the real reality of life for most of the rest of the world.

Hollywood has created a dream to entertain others, but cannot hang on to the broken dreams of those living and dying there in the sun and sans. Wearing shoes anywhere else is better than bare feet without dreams filled with love and emotions.

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  • M. Warren
  • 25-02-2016

Go back to Seattle?

"Futon Years" just aren't working for me personally. Russel has his Hollywood dream bubble burst. Kevin who was all for the move to LA seems to have been all too ready to say "Seriously, wake up!" Daniel, potentially the most interesting character in the story and biggest personal (read: non-professional) challenge for Kevin & Russel as a couple - but that just falls apart. Daniel's sister comes on as a formidable challenge, but then evaporates, left wondering what happened to her brother. Otto's story is really the highlight of this story; I had empathy for him and, after a bit, for Daniel. But Russel and Kevin - nada. There's little that either of them are doing that's relatable, since I've never interviewed a star or had a screenplay rejected. The tension just isn' t there. I'll wait for others' reviews before I delve into Futon Years #3.

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  • Pippin
  • 03-11-2015

Good listen....

I enjoyed this book for the most part. The only thing I would say negative is that sometimes Russell's internal monologues get a bit out of hand. If he actually thought all these things the characters waiting for his responses would be waiting hours.
Other than that it is s great story. The narrator was excellent.