A Star Is Bored may bring associations with the drama film, A Star Is Born. However, it is far from the romantic musical, which leaves one crying by the end. Written by screenwriter Byron Lane, it takes us through the life of a budding celebrity assistant, who embarks himself on this tough, but exciting, adventure. Here though, no dragons are slain and no princesses are rescued.
Focusing on the life of one Charlie Besson, the novel opens on the main character mentally preparing for a job interview with Kathi Kannon. The Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and People magazine’s worst dressed list. The Kathi Kannon that he used to watch on TV and in the cinema during his childhood.
From then on, the novel immerses the readers in the fascinating world of celebrity assistants. Lane used to be a celebrity assistant to the late Carrie Fisher and there are echoes of that in the novel. Kathi Kannon seems to be based on Carrie Fisher, also playing a priestess (not a princess) in a Star Wars-style adventure film that filled the childhoods of many. Just like Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, Kathi’s mother is a famous actress.
Lane’s writing is dynamic and quick. There are times, where the novel almost seems like a film, such as the repetition of the ‘Tap, tap, tap. Fizz, fizz. Crackle,‘ reflecting Charlie’s routine. ‘The shine’ of fame and money sucks Charlie in, as he becomes Kathi’s assistant. His daily tasks require him to not only accommodate her whims (sometimes so absurd, it becomes hard not to break a smile) while battling his own demons. At times, he is so consumed by her life, that his own is completely overshadowed.
On the surface, A Star Is Bored is as exciting and humorous as it gets. However, beneath the quirkiness of Kathi Kannon, the sexual jokes and awkward occurrences, is a commentary on life. More precisely, on escapism in life. Charlie is escaping his own battles by becoming dissolved in Kathi’s life. Kathi escapes her own life through drugs. Even Miss Gracie escapes her own life by moving to live next to Kathi and look after her, stating that she is ‘living for Kathi’. That is without mentioning the lives of all of the other assistants mentioned in the novel — painfully-similar to Charlie’s.
In a world so fixated on celebrities, it is interesting to step behind the scenes. Of course, A Star Is Bored is not a novel that completely focuses on being an assistant to a celebrity. On the contrary, it shows what it’s like for an average person to morph into one, from being completely inexperienced to writing ‘The Assistant Bible’ with over 150 ‘verses’ to be able to cater for Kathi. It is an exhilarating, but also exhausting lifestyle — not just a job.
For anyone looking for an entertaining read, A Star Is Bored is the one. Exciting, funny and at times very heart-warming, it is a thrilling adventure through the quirky world of celebrity assistants.
A Star Is Bored is out and can be purchased here.
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