Book Review: A Star is Bored by Byron Lane

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would ...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book with a pun in the title, A book by or about a journalist

TW: Harm to animals, fat phobia, racism, mental illness, death of a parent, chronic illness, classism

I honestly wasn't sure how much I'd like A Star is Bored when I started reading it. It had been on my radar, but it wasn't necessarily something I'd be trying to get my hands on. But I was sent a free copy and it was getting lots of hype, so I went ahead and read it. It's not what I was expecting, but it was absolutely an entertaining read.

Charlie works night-shift at a news channel in a job he hates. So when he gets an interview with Kathi Kannon, like the Kathi Kannon, his hero since childhood. When he's offered the position as Kathi's assistant (and consequently nicknamed Cockring), he quickly quits his night-job and gets sucked up into the crazy Hollywood life and Kathi Kannon's insane antics.

When I first started reading the book, I was immediately reminded of the play Buyer and Cellar, a witty play about a fanboy working in Barbra Streisand's basement mall. And honestly, I thought the book was about to be basically the same story. 

But seriously, the book starts out with about a million disclaimers that no matter how similar situations may be to real life, and no matter how similar the characters may be, the book is absolutely and entirely a work of fiction. Because here's the thing - Byron Lane worked for several years at the assistant to Carrie Fisher for several years. And you can see the true similarities between Fisher and A Star is Bored's Kathi Kannon. There are even specific stories Lane has shared about Fisher that are nearly word-for-word the same as scenes in the book. And while I know those disclaimers are there for a reason, my assumption is that Lane doesn't want to get sued.

Yet once I knew that Lane worked for Fisher and I started to see the connections in the pages of the book, it made me feel like I was getting to know Carrie Fisher herself, which made me enjoy the book even more.

Though this isn't a memoir, it read like one. I was extremely annoyed as I first dove into the pages of the book - Charlie is quite whiney and I hated him. But throughout the story, it was nice to get to know him and watch his development, and I ended up really enjoying the book. Seriously, it was true entertainment.

The book was quite problematic in some ways - there's lots of insensitive comments made throughout the book that are harmful; some notes of racism and fat jokes. Mental illness is often occurrent in the story, a bit in a way that is made into a spectacle, but I actually thought some of the mental illness and addiction pieces were handled in a way in which, if not smart, instilled a since of awareness. 

Kathi Kannon is infuriating and ridiculous and completely hard-to-handle, but also so charming and lovable. It's like having a best friend or family member that you have to cut off at times, but you still want what's best for them. 

"My mother's death is not a hollow ghost but a solid and constant punch in my gut." - A Star Is Bored, Byron Lane

A Star is Bored is 100% not the book I was expecting, but I'm so glad to have read it. The writing itself was brilliant. The story itself gets an A+ for entertainment. It was one helluva roller coaster (or should I say dogsled?) of a ride. I read the physical book and listened concurrently, and I highly recommend the audiobook. It's definitely very fun. If you're into celebrity drama and reality tv shows, you will absolutely love this book. I am not big on either, but I still enjoyed it. 

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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