book thoughts: Star Island by Carl Hiaasen (2010)


  Imagine your job is to be the hottest pop star on the planet…but only when she’s too stoned to stand.  This is the life of Ann DeLusia, an actress who signed on to “play” Cherry Pie, the biggest and skankiest celebrity to come by in awhlie.  Only she’s not playing Cherry Pie in a movie or made-for-tv miniseries – she is playing her in real life.  Cherry Pie lives life to the extreme, popping everything from vicodin to birdseed in and effort to reach no highs…and lows.  And when she’s passed out on the floor in need of a stomach pump, Ann steps in – well, actually steps out so that the paparazzi think that Cherry is doing fine! 

This is the very basic plot that starts off Carl Hiaasen’s latest book “Star Island”.  The story of this pop star, her entourage, and some other wild characters is not for the easily offended.  In the crazy world of celebrity, nothing is off limits, especially with Cherry Pie.  Cherry Pie (or “Cherish”, as she tries to convince people to start calling her) is every negative thing you can think of about a celebrity, all mixed together into one horrible person.  She grew up in the spotlight, she’s a spoiled brat, she can’t actually sing, and she is barely legal but dresses (and behaves) like a total slut.  She’s everything you love to hate.  Stalking her is a papparazzi known as “Bang” Abbott, who is convinced that she wll OD very soon and wants to get the shot of her dead on the floor because he knows it will bring in the big bucks.  The list of characters goes on and on, each more ridiculous than the next, but sadly it’s not that hard to believe (well…maybe the guy with the very unique prosthesis…).

This was the first Hiaasen experience I’ve ever had and I have to say I enjoyed it.  I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Stephen Hoye, who does a fantastic job of creating voices for all of these over-the-top people.  I felt that Hiaasen repeated himself a lot, but I couldn’t figure out if this was only apparent to me because I was listening to the book so I was hearing it faster than I would read it.  Perhaps if I was reading it over a 3 week period, a reminder about something mentioned in the first 10 chapters would be warranted when I neared the end of the book, but since I was listening, it seemed unecessary.  But Hiaasen’s humor made it worth sitting through.  I guffawed and snickered several times while listening to this book.  And you know it’s a good story when you kind of miss some of the characters when it’s over. 

If you’ve ever stood in line at the grocery store and glanced at the National Enquirer and felt the need to roll your eyes as far back as they could go, than you’ll enjoy this book.  It’s lewd, crude, and downright disgusting – which is why it’s so much fun!

3.5 stars

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