4 out of 5: Written in the style of an intimate memoir, The Confessions of Edward Day delves into the daily lives of a group of struggling stage actors living in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. Edward Day is the first person narrator and the undeniable star of this novel. As his career unfolds, we follow Ed through acting school, numerous auditions and call-backs, conflicts with friends and family, and even a summer season spent in a Vermont theater company. Throughout it all, Ed makes the most of the insignificant parts he lands, always hoping for the next big break and waiting tables between shows to pay his rent.
Through the engaging and honest voice of Ed Day, Valerie Martin writes with authority about the uncertain and stressful world of stage actors. Indeed, Martin so successfully inhabits the life and voice of Ed Day that she all but disappears from view. Ed’s charisma and motivation drive the action, most of which centers around a complicated love triangle and Ed’s ongoing power struggle with a rival actor. With this quick-paced and intelligent novel, Martin delivers a riveting look inside the psyche of an actor.