Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by  Crystal Smith Paul

Read Time:4 Minute, 46 Second

The death of White movie star, Kitty Karr Tate, and her bequest of a multimillion-dollar estate to three Black sisters, raises questions that threaten to unravel family ties, reveal debts owed, and expose debatable crimes that could tear apart the all-American fabric of the St. John sisters. As Elise delves deeper into Kitty’s past, she also confronts the gifts and burdens of her own choices in this sprawling page-turner set in Hollywood that explores family, race, gender, and the choices women make to break free.

Book review of Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?

Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? is a captivating story that explores the complexities of race and power in America. Crystal Smith Paul’s use of flashbacks in the narrative keeps the reader engaged and invested in the story from start to finish. This book delves into one of the darkest periods in American history, one that some people would like to see return. Smith Paul does not shy away from the harsh realities of this time, and her fictional tale sheds light on the truth that needs to be told. Through Kitty Karr’s story, the author exposes the societal pressures and norms that forced people to hide their true identity to succeed.

The book’s main character, Kitty Karr, is a fascinating woman who faces the difficult decision of whether to hide her past to achieve success and acceptance. Smith Paul does an excellent job of bringing out the conflict within Kitty, and readers will find themselves wondering if she made the right decisions. However, I did not care for the Blair House storyline, as it felt like it added too many characters to keep track of, taking away from Kitty’s individual struggles.

The historical aspects of the story are the most compelling, and the author’s portrayal of the strength and resilience of women is awe-inspiring. The story highlights the upsides and downsides of power and privilege and asks the reader to consider what they are willing to do to balance the scales. The nuanced approach to the story is enlightening, and the themes of race, power, and identity make it a thought-provoking read.

However, the book has its flaws. The character of Elise, Kitty’s neighbor and a longtime family friend, felt underdeveloped compared to the dynamic Kitty. Elise’s storyline is interwoven with Kitty’s, but her character is unremarkable and feels like she mostly mopes around the family compound. Additionally, the characters of Giovanni and Noele did not add anything significant to the story.

One thing that bothered me about the book was the premise of the African-American billionaire family that all smoked pot. It felt like a stereotype that did not add anything to the story. Furthermore, the idea of a mother giving up her daughter to live as a white person is hard to believe. The decision to give up family for the sake of being white seems unrealistic, and it is hard to imagine Kitty not being discovered as African-American once she became famous, especially in the internet age.

Final verdict

Overall, Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? is an excellent book that explores important themes of race, identity, and power. The historical elements of the story are captivating, and the author does a fantastic job of weaving a multigenerational tale. The character of Kitty is compelling, and her struggles will keep readers engaged. While the book has its flaws, it is still a thought-provoking read that encourages dialogue and reflection on the issues that still plague society today.

Our Score


  • Gripping Dual Timeline: Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? effectively utilizes a dual timeline narrative structure, blending Kitty’s rise in Hollywood with Elise’s perspective as her neighbor. This approach keeps readers engaged and intrigued, as they navigate the complexities of both characters’ lives and uncover the connections between them.
  • Powerful Exploration of Identity and Conformity: The book delves into the themes of identity, race, and societal expectations, particularly through Kitty’s story. It raises thought-provoking questions about the lengths people are willing to go to fit in and the consequences of concealing one’s true self. The exploration of power and privilege adds depth to the narrative, allowing readers to reflect on the broader implications of conformity.
  • Historical Significance and Women’s Resilience: The historical aspects of the story offer an enlightening glimpse into a challenging period in the country’s history. The strength and resilience of women in the face of adversity are highlighted, creating a sense of admiration and awe for their perseverance.


  • Overcrowded Storylines: Some readers may find the inclusion of additional characters and subplots, such as the Blair House storyline, to be unnecessary and distracting. These elements detract from the central conflicts and dilute the impact of Kitty’s personal journey.
  • Underdeveloped Supporting Characters: While Kitty’s character is dynamic and captivating, the supporting character of Elise may feel lackluster and lacking in depth. The exploration of her relationship with her mother and the conflict between them could have been more fully developed to enhance her storyline and emotional impact.
  • Questionable Believability and Stereotypes: A criticism leveled against the book is the lack of believability in certain plot elements and the presence of stereotypes. Some readers may find the portrayal of an affluent African-American family engaging in drug use to be odd and the premise of Kitty hiding her heritage and being given up by her mother as a white person unrealistic. These aspects may hinder the book’s overall credibility and resonance for some readers.
Did You Hear About Kitty KarrPublisher ‏ : ‎ Henry Holt and Co. (May 2, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250815304
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250815309
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.6 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.45 x 1.35 x 9.55 inches

About Article Author

Ethan Davis

Ethan Davis combines his passion for literature with another of his great hobbies: climbing. There is never a mountain high enough for him... nor a book he doesn't want to read, especially if it's a good crime thriller.
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