Book Review: Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

Star Island
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen
Published: 2011.06.21 by Grand Central
ISBN: 0446556122
Amazon :: Kindle Edition

My Rating: ★★★½☆ 

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend about my ever dwindling stockpile of books. Being sympathetic to my plight she very generously bought this book from the local book shop so I could read it. A couple of our friends here on Nevis are fans of Carl Hiaasen and have been telling me how much they enjoy his books. I had never even heard of Hiaasen before, so I was happy to check him out.

Trying not to give any spoilers, it’s a story revolving around a rich and famous but dim-witted and talentless pop singer and her entourage who struggle to keep her career alive in the wake of her perpetual sex scandals and drug overdoses. The protagonist, and the only character with any redeeming qualities, is the singer’s double – a struggling actress who’s job it is to appear in public whenever the star is preoccupied with having her stomach pumped.

At first I was worried that the novel would turn into a Harold Robbins-esqe trashy glamorization of celebrity. Thankfully it instead developed into a very funny satirization of celebrity and celebrity hangers-on. Virtually every character in the novel was wildly outrageous and exaggerated, and the story jumps from one ridiculous situation to another. The story is much closer to something Tom Robbins (the far better Robbins) might write, but without the wild-poetic style.

I have to say I really enjoyed it. No, it certainly wasn’t high-literature, but it was very funny and had some of the most original characters I’ve read. It only took me a few days to read, which is a pretty good indication that I liked it. Unfortunately, since I read it so quickly, it didn’t do much to delay the depletion of my book stockpile. Luckily I have a big order of books that should be arriving here in a week or two – hopefully that will last me until the end of the year.

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