Rebecca's Reviews > Not a Star

Not a Star by Nick Hornby
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's review
Jan 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: novellas, contemporary-fiction
Read in July, 2010

I read this entire novella tonight while in my second bookstore of the day. I have had a soft spot for Nick Hornby since hearing Ira Glass reading an excerpt from About a Boy on the This American Life episode “Three Kinds of Deception.” Later, I felt an extra affinity for Nick Hornby when I realized that he is a book hoarder/reader, too, after reading his columns in The Believer (collected and published in book format). I love his British wit and practicality about pop music and popular books, and I love that in his own books his characters are real people with a touch of whimsy and disbelief about the way the world works. I’m so glad I didn’t let the hype about High Fidelity ruin my later appreciation of Nick Hornby, because every asshole I used to know was crazy about both the movie and the book versions of High Fidelity.

Anyway, this novella is 69 pages (what a lucky number!) about a mother (to quote the back of the book) who “sees her son Mark in an adult film [and] she is forced to ask many difficult questions. How well does she know her son? Where did he get his obvious talent? And how will she tell his father? There are some things a mother should never know…” In 69 pages, the mother’s world doesn’t crash, but she re-evaluates what happiness means and learns to enjoy the surprises which seem horrible from the outside.

The novella is part of a series for adults learning to read, which is smart, because the content is engaging and enjoyable—and adult. This book is enjoyable for those of us who’ve been reading for a while and love Nick Hornby, too.

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