A Coming of Age Story in Hollywood

A Way of Life, Like Any Other - Darcy O'Brien

Title: A Way of Like, Like Any Other

Author: Darcy O'Brien

Publisher: Open Road Media

Publication Date: Jul 1st 2014

Page Numbers: 180 pages



Winner of the Ernest Hemingway Award for Best First Novel in 1978


The hero of Darcy O’Brien’s A Way of Life, Like Any Other is a child of Hollywood, and once his life was a glittery dream. His father starred in Westerns. His mother was a goddess of the silver screen. The family enjoyed the high life on their estate, Casa Fiesta. But his parents’ careers have crashed since then, and their marriage has broken up too.


Lovesick and sex-crazed, the mother sets out on an intercontinental quest for the right—or wrong—man, while her mild-mannered but manipulative former husband clings to his memories in California. And their teenage son? How he struggles both to keep faith with his family and to get by himself, and what in the end he must do to break free, makes for a classic coming-of-age story—a novel that combines keen insight and devastating wit to hilarious and heartbreaking effect.


What I Thought

Well, where should I begin? I thought this book is kind of a biography but in the end of the book, the author confirmed that this is just a fiction (some of the reader believe that this book was his autobiography).


Our hero was a young boy named Salty (this is just a nickname, which..surprisingly, announced in the middle of the book!!) who lived at Hollywood with a selfish, dreamer and obsessed-of-the-right-man's mother and an ex-cowboy actor's father. Off course his parent finally divorced and he followed his mother in searching of her dream man. After some relationship adventures, his mom finally married a Russian rich guy named Anatol who made them travelled out of Hollywood. Suddenly, his father needed him and Salty must back to America. It made everything hard because his father still lived with his granny, which made him moved into friend's house, Jerry Caliban and Salty learned everything here, especially how to had a relationship with a girl. When his granny finally die, Salty back to his dad and helped him to continued his (hard) life.


I thought that there would be a rebel son, but in this story, Salty sounded like a nice young-boy. He knew that there was wrong with his parent, but (surprisingly again) he UNDERSTAND it. Like what his parents did and why they did it were normal reactions to him. Like he described his parents in page 114:

My inquiries into human understanding that had taught me that my father was constantly constant as a rock and my mother as constantly inconstant as the sea, and that wasn't much go on. A rock as big as my father you could not throw, but you could hide behind it and rest in it's shadow. When it fell to the sea, it sank

He knew that he could got love from his father (his mother counted love with how much money that a man have) but he also knew that the divorced made his father down. For me, this is unusual story which had set in Hollywood, with it's glamorous life.


This is a good book after all. Even IMO, Salty is too humble (or, maybe too naive?) but at least he knew what was good for him.

A man was tested sometimes, and the true test of man was whether he could get off the floor and still be a champion [page 33]

Opening Line

I would not change the beginning for anything. I had an electric car, a starched white nanny, a pony, a bed modeled after that of Napoleon's son, and I was baptized by the Archbishop of the diocese.