Matthew's Reviews > Not a Star and Otherwise Pandemonium: Stories

Not a Star and Otherwise Pandemonium by Nick Hornby
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's review
Aug 11, 2012

it was amazing
Read from August 11 to 12, 2012

I knew from the plot summary that this book was going to contain two short stories, both containing sex. That made me nervous -- especially with the attention 50 Shades of Gray has been getting, I've been thinking about how confused most Americans are in the area of sexuality. In my opinion, sex is best experienced in the context of a loving, monogamous relationship. Besides, aren't most book jackets that mention sex just a red flag that the book is going to be gimmick-filled with attempted-shock-value? (I'm thinking of a Chuck Palahniuk book I read that seemed to be trying too hard to shock, and a sci-fi book that mentioned sex often enough that it felt like the target audience was hormone-filled teenage boys, or the thrift store in my town that is overflowing with used romance novels).

But Nick Hornby has never struck me as a writer who would put "sex" on the book jacket just to sell copies. And whew, I was right, these are two stories full of thoughtfulness, emotion, and character development. The son's barely-mentioned porn acting in the first story is simply the shocking catalyst for the real action of the story: the shift that takes place in the mother-son dynamic. The voice of the narrator in that story is so authentic, which really shows Hornby's skill at creating believable characters. The second story is probably closer to what we expect from Hornby, a young guy interested in a young woman who narrates the way his mind wanders (with a little twist thrown in). The two main narrators are world's apart in tone, context, etc., and I was invested in both. These stories are easy to care for and enjoy.

I give this book 5 stars and look forward to continuing towards my goal of reading every Horny book, yeah-ah.

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