Ashley is the hero and protagonist of “Palm Avenue.” Ashley possesses qualities that everyone finds attractive: wholesomeness, earnestness, humility, and physical beauty. She arrives in Hollywood fully believing that hard work and determination will overcome all obstacles. Her un-jaded approach, natural friendliness, and of course, stunning good looks win her admirers right away.
In the opening chapter of Palm Avenue, Ashley describes herself to a potential employer, “Well, sir. I’m a hard worker. I grew up on a farm and have worked hard my whole life. I know the value of a dollar. I’m honest and loyal to a fault. I’m friendly and very good with people. I think well on my feet and show up on time – early even. I live just around the corner on Palm Avenue within walking distance. I don’t call in sick and am not a drama queen. I’m here in Los Angeles to be an actress it’s true, but when I’m here, I’ll be a hostess. I promise you I’ll be the best darned hostess that you’ve ever had.”
Ashley has the natural magnetism that just opens doors for her. Everyone that she meets seems to want a part of her, and those from her past can’t seem to let her go. Ashley, like most people also has her demons. Her strained relationship with her father eats at her night and day. Her guilt about breaking it off with Brady also bothers her, among other instances from her past.
Ashley is a true fish out of water, but she quickly adapts. She believes she must get some life experience, if she wants to be a serious actor and artist. Drugs, alcohol, and sex are all a part of that. She also realizes that she has to act quickly in order to make her mark. In the book, one passage describes her realization, “Ashley felt the champagne working on her brain and she suddenly felt warm and fuzzy. She smiled at Levin again. This was her shot and she knew it. All the websites and pictures in the world could not do what that man could do for her with one phone call and Ashley was shrewd enough to realize that.”
Ashley, a little bit at a time begins the transformation into someone entirely different than the person who arrived in Hollywood straight out of Colby, Kansas and rented that studio apartment on Palm Avenue.