Book Review: Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra

“…one shouldn’t judge a man harshly for doing what the times demanded.”

Anthony Marra, Mercury Pictures Presents

Title: Mercury Pictures Presents
Author: Anthony Marra
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
Published: July 19th, 2022

My Rating: ★★
Read: 11/17/2022 – 11/22/2022


I was super excited about this one. The synopsis drew me in, the cover is gorgeous, the setting is fantastic, the premise is promising… but I found myself utterly bored and impatient to finish.

The book mainly follows Maria’s story, an Italian immigrant who moved to America with her mother. At the start of World War II, she is working for Mercury Pictures. This was a turbulent time for Hollywood for a lot of immigrants given the stigma against people coming from countries aligned with the Axis powers. As the war carries on, Maria and the others have to navigate the changes that come with wartime as well as figures from Maria’s past.

I loved the concept of all of this, but it fell flat for me. There were too many characters. I couldn’t name half of them from memory if I tried. The plot was chaotic, or I should say plots. This felt like two different books. There were some funny lines, so I’ll compliment the witty writing (actually, it was well-written altogether). Still, I’m not really sure what the full picture of the book was. There were too many jumps and not enough character development.

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Some witty lines that made me laugh out loud. I don’t do that often.
  • The subject matter. It’s not often discussed how immigrants from places like Japan, Germany, Italy, etc. were treated in America during the war.

What I didn’t like:

  • There were some really harsh lines against Christians and Christianity in general. Why does any religion need to be insulted? This had little bearing on the plot/characters.
  • Too much was squeezed into one book. It seemed like it was going for a literary vibe but it didn’t work given all of the extra things going on.
  • The characters had modern-day voices. Politics were handled much differently then than they are now.


The anti-Christian sentiments early on in the book definitely left a poor taste in my mouth and I was wary throughout the rest of the book. It’s disappointing more than anything. I’m cautious of any book/author that feels the need to put down someone’s beliefs just for the sake of doing so. It wasn’t an interesting enough book for me to look past it, either.

Where to buy the book:

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