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Complicit    by Winnie M Li order for
by Winnie M Li
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Sarah, a young Chinese American, is in love with film. So when the chance comes for her to work in Hollywood as an associate producer, there is no holding her back. What she finds when she gets there outdoes every possible experience she could have imagined for herself. It is a dream world, but is it a dream come true?

She can handle the fake part, the way the leading actors and actresses are fawned over, and the way anybody lesser is ignored. The way the people with money are automatically sought after even when their character is less than honorable. It's the power question she can't handle. It's all about power - if you don't have it, you are going to do everything you can to get it. And everything is especially dangerous for women since this is a man's world. How Sarah, in contrast to her female colleagues, is able to defend herself forms the crux of the story.

The story is spun out by means of interviews with a reporter investigating the celebrated film producer Sarah worked with. Besides Sarah's information, we hear from others in the industry, all of whom flesh out the atmosphere at that time and what happens when those in power are questioned.

It is made quite clear that in those circumstances, a na´ve female was open prey to men in power. If she was not careful, there were usually unhappy consequences. Sarah's family background, difficult as it was, somehow stands her in good stead. She has learned to value education, family and independence. But there is a definite downside to her bravery. The #MeToo movement's reason for being is well shown in this rather dry but gripping story.

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