Newest Review: ... based around quite a small collection of characters which I liked because it meant that there were fewer details to remember as I do tend ... more
Don't believe everything you see
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
Member Name: mumto3
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
Advantages: Not very many characters
Disadvantages: subject matter - jumps around - not likable characters - not funny
Whilst clearing out my mother's garage recently I came across a large collection of books and not one to pass up a free book I had a good old rummage. To my surprise I found quite a few titles I hadn't read and these included Ben Elton's Dead Famous.
I have read a few of Ben Elton's books and have usually quite enjoyed them and although I wasn't sure if I had read this one I decided to give it a go anyway.
I had a quick read of the blurb on the back and after getting down to the dregs of my stash I decided to give this book a read and see how I got on with it.
The story is based around a 'Big Brother' style television programme the housemates inside the house the production team and a small police department. The book starts with a murder and the rest of the book unravels the murder that was seen by millions but with no clue as to whodunit! The book is based around quite a small collection of characters which I liked because it meant that there were fewer details to remember as I do tend to get lost if there are too many characters. There are the characters inside the house and these are made up of the usual fame hungry wannabes. There is a nice mix of male and female housemates and I felt that Ben managed to capture their characters well despite being a male writer. One of these housemates is obviously the victim while the others become the obvious suspects as they are all locked inside a house with cameras trained on their every move. Other characters include production staff and camera operatives and their unsavoury habits. Finally there is the team of investigating officers and their endeavours to reveal the murderer.
I usually read a few pages and see how I feel before I decide if I want to carry on with the book as I can usually tell by then if it is worth me carrying on. Unfortunately with this book I did find that it was like a horror film in that I didn't want to watch but wanted to know what happened. I felt quite disturbed by the subject matter but could not bring myself to stop reading. I usually read at night which means I don't get very far as I am too tired so I didn't devour the book in a couple of sittings. There were two aspects to the book that I found unsavoury the first was the murder and the ensuing investigation and plot twists. I don't like horror films and don't watch them and this was like that waiting for the next bit to jump up and scare you. The second thing I didn't like was the suggestion that these types of television programmes are rigged. Don't get me wrong I am not naive enough to think that things aren't shown in a certain way to boost ratings but to think that is it done with total disregard to the participants is something that upsets me. I don't watch this type of programme because I don't like the types of contestants they seem to attract and because I don't want to watch some stranger scratching their bits and making tea.
I did manage to read the entire book and I can say that it hasn't been instantly forgotten like some books I have read but I remember it more for its unsavoury nature than any enjoyment I gained from it. I found the characters uninteresting and one dimensional and didn't form any real affection for any of them. I am not sure why I kept reading but I did and I really can't find anything nice to say about the book and it wasn't even particularly funny like you might expect. I also found that it was difficult to keep track of the story in places because you jumped from day twenty seven to day fourteen and then back to day twenty eight with each day ebing a different chapter.
Not one of Ben's best in my opinion.
Currently available (Nov 2011) on www.amazon.co.uk for £4.50 with free postage.
Summary: Not one of Ben's best
- The Signal and the Noise - Nate Silver
- The Slow Death of British Industry - Nicholas Comfort
- The Story of Music - Howard Goodall
- The Strategy Book - Max Mckeown
- Floodlit Dreams: How to Save a Football Club - Ian Ridley
- The Harmony Guides: Crochet Stitch Motifs - Erika Knight
- The Harcombe Diet - Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight: Diet Book - ...
- How to Clean Absolutely Everything - Yvonne Worth