The Johnny Moss Room

Rated 5.00/5 based on 3 reviews
It takes a lot of guts to be Merv Moss's daughter and even more to love him. In this dramedy about the complicated bonds between fathers and daughters,17-year-old budding film genius Lilo Moss struggles to touch the grace and forgiveness that will lead her to come to terms with her outrageous ex-comic dad before it's too late. Set in 1960s New York and Miami, when all the world was changing. More

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About Ellen Kesend

Ellen Kesend began her writing career as a Hollywood screenwriter. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, she joined Cinema Engagé, a film collective in New York, and worked in all aspects of production. When she started writing screenplays, she moved to LA to attend UCLA’s Graduate Screenwriting program and was awarded the Jack Nicholson Scholarship for Best Screenwriter. Her screenplay CONVICTIONS led to a two-decade career writing features and long-form TV for top producers, studios, and networks, including Paramount, Warner Brothers, Disney, NBC and HBO.

Ellen co-produced and co-wrote an independent feature, IN 'N' OUT, a Mexican-US co-production, and co-produced the award-winning human rights documentary KIMJONGILIA, which premiered at Sundance.

A movie idea morphed into THE JOHNNY MOSS ROOM. The novel was optioned by an Academy Award-winning producer. It is featured as Best of the Library Writers Project by Portland, Oregon’s Multnomah County Library, rated the Number 2 library in the U.S.

Ellen has taught Screenwriting at the Evergreen State College in Washington, San Francisco’s Academy of Arts University, and privately. She and her family now live in Portland, Oregon, where she is working on a memoir.

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Review by: gemmaw on July 8, 2016 :
This novel was a pleasure to read. The first person voice of 17-year old Lilo Moss is assured, the language richly evocative. Coming of age during the turmoil and excitement of the 1960s, Lilo is pitted in a seemingly losing battle with her father, Merv. Merv abandoned his career as a Catskill’s comic and the promise of a future in movies to become a business man, which makes his strong-willed daughter even more determined to pursue her own dreams as a filmmaker. The novel is a journey toward finding integrity self-worth, and not giving up on one’s voice. It’s about seeing behind the veil of apparent disinterest, and the lengths a daughter will go to in order to forge a connection with her ornery father.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Review by: N H on June 7, 2016 :
Captivating, fast read. I couldn't put it down! Ms. Kessend is able to capture the voice of a young woman with a complex family in a way that makes you relate to her, and does not make her seem simply immature. This was funny, fun, and provocative. I hope there is a sequel!
(reviewed 38 days after purchase)
Review by: J. Abreman on April 27, 2016 :
This book truly moved me. For any woman or man with a larger than life father, this book captures the struggle in loving and trying to connect to such a parent. Somehow the author creates characters who are full and well rounded, and no sits as the villian in the complicated Moss family. I loved reading about the protagonist's interest in studying and making films and her deep search for proof of her father's love. The references to Jewish life in the 1960s were spot on and the glimpse into the life of the Jewish comedians in the Catskills during that time was fantastic. Very moving, funny and charming book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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