Carl Hiaasen: Star Island
Unlike other novels that tell the stories of
celebrities, Star Island doesn’t
focus on the glamour and wealth normally associated with fame. Instead, author
Carl Hiaasen digs deeper and goes beyond the glamorous facades; he uses satire
to shed light on the spoilt life of a 22-year-old blonde pop star, showing us
in the process the downside to fame.
Cherry Pye is a chronically drunk pop star whose
career is going to the dogs. Spoilt and talentless, Cherry’s idea of singing
doesn’t extend beyond lip-synching. When her oblivious parents and savvy
manager grow increasingly worried about the effects of her recklessness on her
upcoming comeback album and their livelihood, they hire Chemo – a homicidal
bodyguard who despises Cherry’s family, has a prosthetic weed-whacker for a hand and is
waiting for the perfect opportunity to quit his job, but succeeds in keeping
Cherry’s drunken activities in check.
Another blonde in her twenties is Ann DeLusia, an
actress who is the carbon copy of Cherry and stands in for her as a double
whenever the pop star overdoses or is too trashed to go out in public.
As the cliché dictates, the paparazzi are always on
the lookout for celebrity scandals and cringe-worthy moments. To most of them,
it’s a job. But to Bang Abbott, an obese photographer, the job is a tad more
personal. His unadulterated obsession with the crooner leads him to kidnapping
her, only to find that he has mistakenly carjacked Ann, her stand-in.
Cherry’s parents and entourage find themselves in a
tight predicament when they have to rescue Ann from the deranged paparazzo
without making her existence known to the public or to Cherry herself. As the
plot progresses, readers find themselves faced with amusing situations as
Abbott tries to blackmail Cherry’s family into a private photo session with her
in return for handing over Ann.
of characters also includes Skink, a one-eyed former governor of Florida who
has turned into an environmental vigilante. Skink befriends Ann and is the only
person who actually cares about her kidnapping.
is a bit complicated and hard to follow. Readers can easily get lost within the
storyline and might even feel baffled by the many subplots. The novel lacks the
depth required to make it believable, its pace is quite slow and its plot line
is stale. It’s a long story and several characters seem to be forced upon it
rather than interwoven through the events.
also indirectly refers to real-life celebrities’ recurring visits to
rehabilitation centres. Despite the fact that the characters are eccentric and
may be even considered insane, reading the novel will still give readers a
laugh or two.