Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Not a Star by Nick Hornby... A Review

I don't know how I stumbled across not a star by Nick Hornby, but the premise sounded so funny to me - a mother discover's that her adult son is a porn star, and even worse is the fact that the nosy neighbors knew first. Let me tell you, this book is a riot!

Written tongue-in-cheek, not a star opens up with "Lynn" (aka the "stars" Mother) picking up the video someone dropped through her mail slot and reads a little note attached... "Dear Lynn, I'm not in the habit of dropping smutty films through people's letter boxes. But I thought you and Frank might be interested in this one! It's not mine, I should add!" And the story just jumps off from there. Mark, "the star" was never really good at anything, and after watching the porn movie, Mom discovers he is really good at something, or not really good, but really...ahem, well you know, ah... well endowed. So, Lynn tells her husband, and they both decide to "confront" Mark about it all. Of course, Lynn's nosy neighbor, Karen, isn't one to keep things to herself or have the decency NOT to ask questions, so everyone in the neighborhood knows about Mark, but in the end Lynn has the last word. And Mark, the "star"? Well, you'll have to read not a star to find out! BTW, Mark being a porn star seems to touch everyone in Lynn's life, as she questions just what else didn't she notice "all these years"!

Very funny, great writing, and less than 100 pages. And the story behind the book is a good one too. Not a star is part of the Open Door Series, which is a series of books published to encourage literacy. All the books in the series are under 100 pages, written by Irish writers, and are aimed at readers who have difficulty reading.
"The Open Door Series was launched in the mid-1990s by Irish publisher New Island and author Patricia Scanlan. Scanlan had worked in public libraries in Dublin before becoming a full-time writer and was acutely aware of the literacy problems facing a large segment of the adult population and the dearth of appropriate reading material available to them."
What a great program! And the authors writing for the series are well known. Authors such as Maeve Binchy, John Connolly, and Marian Keyes. You can go to the New Island website to see what books are in the series or Goodreads has a list too. So, if you're looking for a short read, why not give one of these novellas a try! All the royalties earned by the books go to charity or a special fund. Sounds like a plan to me. And I'm up for reading more in this series.

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