Lina's Reviews > John Belushi Is Dead

John Belushi Is Dead by Kathy Charles
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's review
Aug 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: other, fiction-general
Read from October 20 to 24, 2010

Death is something that continues to fascinate human thought, because it is the only avoidable reality that comes with life. We enter the world and at some time later on, we leave it. The only way to cheat death, is to immortalize yourself. Yet, at the end of the day does it matter if you died a natural death or died from a drug overdose? We all reach the dirt someday.

John Belushi is Dead is a breakout novel by Kathy Charles, that touches on the obsession with death, especially celebrity deaths. Turn on VH1 and there will always be something about celebrity tragities.

Hilda and Benji are our lead characters who are best friends due to their shared obsession with dead celebrities. Instead of going to the mall or doing "normal" teen activities, the run around Hollywood looking for pieces of the past.

At first the book comes off as a place for the writer to drop her fun facts about the morbid, gritty lives and deaths of: John Belushi, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. Fortunately, as soon as we are introduced to the character of Hank the story develops some true depth.

Hilda's obsession with death comes from seeing her parents die in a car crash ala Jayne Mansfield, which, oddly enough, gives her the comfort. In her mind if death can happen for someone like Jayne Mansfield, then it can't be that bad. However, in the back of her mind she is haunted by her own morbid thoughts.

The relationship she later develops with Hank and Jake allows her to realize that there is no glory in being death. Death tends to glorify people and puts a halo of sanctity over their personality, even if they were controversial in their lifetime (Michael Jackson). As the story progresses Benji becomes a darker, more disturbing character and Hilda realizes that there is nothing amazing about dying.

It really is a coming of age story in its own right and while I felt there were some cheesy parts, like Hilda and Jake's relationship, I do think the story itself was something worth reading.

Final Grade: B+

There was alot of name dropping in this book and some personal pet peeves with the interpretation of some celebrities (I wish they brought up that Jayne Mansfield was one of the most brilliant women in Hollywood, although people only cared about her breasts) and music. At the same time, this book was a great read and I truly enjoyed it. I was glad to see the characters develop and deteriorate in ways that make sense. There were enjoyable characters, a fun story with a message that can be defined as: LIVE YOUR LIFE. THERE IS ONLY ONE.

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Reading Progress

10/20/2010 "I have no idea why I wanted this book so much, but I can't wait to read it."
10/20/2010 "I have no idea why I wanted this book so much, but I can't wait to read it."
10/20/2010 page 25
8.0% "Shows the start of what could be a really deep story."
10/22/2010 page 78
24.0% "Really am enjoying this book. Hilda is a sweet character, Benji is your friendly-neighborhood douce best friend and Hank is hilarious. I am enjoying the contrasts between celebrity deaths and Hilda's own life. The only think I don't like is the "rocker" superiority complex towards pop music. You can like both people!"

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message 1: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah This seems really interesting! Can't wait for your review!

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