Carl Hiaasen nails it again in his newest bestseller! Star Island revolves around the next flavor of the month teen rocker, Cherry Pye, and her extremely dysfunctional family, who all survive solely on her recording earnings. Sound familiar?
Cherry is your basically drugged-out nympho, who takes entitlement over the cliff as only a spoiled celebrity brat can. Her double, Ann DeLusia, is a struggling actress who sees being Cherry’s double as a chance to hone her acting skills and save the money she needs to hold out for her big break. Also integral to Star Island is a smitten paparazzo, Bang Abbott, who once won a Pulitzer but has fallen far. He’s sure Cherry is going to make his career if he can just get the right photos of her.
The subject matter could have been plucked from any tabloid, mainstream newspaper, news broadcast (at least in Southern California), or celebrity gossip web site but Hiaasen’s unique POV takes it to a whole new level. In real life it almost seems like a contest to see which over-indulged celebrity wild child this week got arrested for a DUI or drug charge, which one OD’d or came close to OD’ing, which one is going to court, to jail, to rehab for the umpteenth time, yadda, yadda, yadda. Do some out-of-commission celebrities have doubles who wear wigs, don dark glasses and make token appearances when said celebrity can’t roll out of bed, rehab, the hospital, etc? Oh, quite possibly.
Hiaasen’s wild and crazy Florida characters are his stock in trade, so don’t be alarmed when the ex-governor (affectionately known as Skink) and his highway patrol friend make an appearance. The ex-governor is one of my favorite Hiaasen characters. I’m sure all of us have at one time or another longed to drop out of the rat race. The governor not only dropped out of the rat race but quite possibly out of the human race, or at least the “civilized” part of it. He became a scruffy and smelly but warm hearted eco-terrorist who lives in the swamps of South Florida. Now if you’ve ever been to the South Florida swamps, you know he’s gotta be one tough SOB to stay alive out there.
Like most of Carl Hiaasen’s books, Star Island is as highly addictive as crack. It’s like a rollercoaster ride and train wreck combined. You have to keep turning the pages to see what outlandish thing is going to happen next! Of course that means less sleep but who cares!
You’re going to laugh, shout “Eeeew” in the middle of the night, and generally think you’ve fallen into a combination soap opera, reality show and gangster movie. Once more Hiaasen provides us with a lesson in how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What more could you ask for in a rollicking good time?
If you’ve read Star Island, I’d love to hear your comments.
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