Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Review - Nick Hornby's Not A Star

Not a Star by Nick Hornby
Published by: GemmaMedia Open Door
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback, 69 Pages
Challenge: Typically British
Rating: ★★★

What if one day you found out your average, mundane, humdrum son, who you've never had high expectations for, who you never expected anything out of, turns out to excel in porn, not for acting ability, but due to a certain anatomical part? And what if you learned this from the nosiest neighbor you know? That's exactly what happens to Lynn one day when she learns her son Mark is the star of a film entitled Meet the Fuckers. At first thinking there has to be a mistake, she soon learns that it is in fact true, and yes, she watched it. But what to do with this new found unwelcome information? Should she tell her husband Dave? And how to talk to her son about this? Also where did he get this special "ability." Going from Lynn's reactions to her eventual acceptance, she realizes that this secret might have just made their family a little closer.

A very short little story from Nick Hornby, which I view are usually his best. He seems to have issues with endings never fully meeting the expectations of the preceding story. But this doesn't seem to happen in his shorter fiction, and this is short at only 69 pages. It was an interesting look into an apparently normal and boring family who, it turns out, isn't really that boring at all. Nick Hornby has such a knack for writing about the average person that you get a real connection with the characters, even in this slim volume, you like Lynn and her family. There are bigger issues touched on, one that I don't feel was satisfactorily resolved was Mark's girlfriend's ignorance of his job. But overall a quick read by a great writer, but only to be read if you like your humor a little dark and aren't afraid of a few dirty words. If you want to see Nick Hornby at his peak of short story writing, check out Speaking with the Angel and his story "Nipple Jesus."


Thanks for this review. Hornby is one of those authors I have been meaning to read but have not gotten around to it. This may be the book to start with. I will look for this and his short stories; I did not know he had a book of short stories.

He was the editor of the book, with only one story in it, but it's wonderful. For those looking for a good starter Hornby I'd probably recommend "About a Boy." A great book and a great movie too!

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