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I have recently been trying to experiment with a few new authors with contrasting styles. I firmly believe you cannot judge any writer until you have sampled a few different offering from them. With that in mind, I thought I would try a very different type of author in the shape of Jackie Collins, someone who I would not usually even go near.
'''===About the author:==='''
Jackie Collins was born in London on the 4th October 1937. In her very colourful life this novelist began life as an actor and appeared in several roles, following in her elder sister Joan's footsteps. However her real claim to fame is writing, so far she has written 26 novels that have featured in the New York Times Best-selling list. She has sold a staggering 400 million copies in over 40 countries, and her controversial work features power, the rich and of course sex.
'''===Synopsis of the book:==='''
The novel features three very contrasting characters and their lives and careers.
Kris Phoenix is the first of these; he is a handsome Englishman who has just left school as his story begins. His only real love besides women is music and with his best friend Baz he forms a band 'The Wild Ones'. They become very successful but in so doing Kris has to make some difficult decisions that will make him more successful at the expense of all those around him.
Bobby Mondella is a black soul superstar at 11, when is sweet voice and boyish innocent looks are exploited by the music business. On the scrap heap by 16 he becomes involved with the mob. He must now try to use his writing skills to break back into the business he once took for granted.
Meanwhile Rafealla is also growing up in a world of money and influence. She is of mixed blood and turns out to be a beautiful young lady with a voice to die for. Although younger than the other two she has known deceit and tragedy too. Her career is just taking off when the Pop Tycoon Marcos Citroen calls all three of them to perform a one of gig together at an important fund raising event.
'''===My thoughts on the book:==='''
Overall I am quite ashamed to say I really enjoyed reading this book. I always wondered if I was really cheap and shallow! Now I know I am. It had a very clear and well-defined storyline that was always interesting and leading somewhere. It was clear early on in the piece that 1987 was a key date, but until the end you didn't know why and what was going to happen then to any of the characters within the story.
This book was written in early 1987 and I think in many ways this showed in the writing. As the characters all seemed to be a product of the 1980's, before Marketing had reached new heights and Music videos and the Internet were not even thought off. Their attitudes to sex were very relaxed before Aids became a known factor and people took more care and protected themselves about who they slept with.
I had heard so much about Jackie Collins 'trashy novels' in the past this was a real education for me. I expected to hate this book and find it a glorified sex magazine in the world of the rich and the famous. However it was not like that at all, as I found I could relate to both the story and the characters involved within it.
Maybe that helped me initially that I expected so little from this book. I never thought I would actually enjoy it. When I purchased the book from my local bookshop, the cashier asked me who I was buying it for. She seemed very surprised and gave me a funny look when I told her it was for me that worried me for a start.
The story was interesting because firstly it centred on the lives of three very different contrasting characters that, only shared a wonderful talent. It was fascinating to see what happened to them as the novel went chronologically through all the highs and lows of their lives, all the main developments that went to make them all Rock Stars.
Yes in some ways it was shallow, the way these fortunate people enjoyed such a lavish lifestyle. Full of beautiful young men and women who's only leisure time pursuit seemed to be having sex. Luckily these scenes were not too graphic in the author's descriptions of them; instead she left quite a bit of it to your own imagination which was fine by me.
The story built up well leading to a very exciting conclusion that had many contrasting possibilities as to what would happen both good and bad. It was surprisingly full of suspense and I found myself riveted to the end. And although the writing style was not brilliant it was certainly readable. I liked the feature of a decent size epilogue that for once gave the reader a good update on all the characters.
I found I was very impressed by the format and layout of the novel. There were short and punchy chapters. This allowed the author to take you very clearly and distinctly from one character to the next and the date and place she was taking you to. As a result I always knew exactly what was going on and where I was in the story. It also allowed you to not get to embroil with one character as any one stage of their lives and enjoy all three of them.
The three main characters, worked really well for me because they were so different in culture, ideology and upbringing. The author cleverly followed them through all the key incidents in their careers. I found I could relate and like most aspects about them as they were written to appear very down to earth in their approach to life. Maybe this isn't realistic as many Rocks Stars are in fact arrogant and full of their own self-importance. But maybe because of some of their lows they learnt to appreciate what they did have.
The support characters were important in their roles within the novel, and because they only played a small part they lacked depth in their personalities and characters. The only thing I struggled a little was trying to see where they fitted into the story, this was revealed in as the fascinating story reached its conclusion.
If I were critical I would say the authors descriptions and scene setting lacked detail and depth. She had the opportunity to describe some great locations and scenes and for me she missed the opportunity. This also applied to the characters as I never felt I was inside any of the heads and understand them whole-heartedly.
Their success always seemed predictable and for me to really empathise with them, they needed to have suffered a lot more to get to the top of the tree. There success all seemed a little too easy, a little too predictable and I kept looking for things to go wrong for them.
That said I think it is a good insight into the life of a Rock star within the music business. With a story that was great but not too deep and confusing so that you could pick up and read as little or as much as your mood allowed. I can imagine this book being popular as a holiday book as it is the kind of lifestyle we can only dream about.
The books length as exactly right to tell an interesting and well thought out story. It was not ground breaking by any means just a good story with a twist in it. It had a steady pace until the final few chapters which was fast paced, exciting and full of suspense.
For me this was as close as I will get to knowing and understanding the life of a Rock Star and as such it was an enlightening and very enjoyable insight into it. I'm sure I will read more absorbing and even challenging novels but for this week at least it was more than enough for me.
At the end of the book there was an interview with Jackie Collins. In this she talked a little about herself and her lifestyle but more importantly a little about the book itself. I would have liked to have been told a little more background and what she thought of the characters she had created.
I was also impressed with the authors professionally designed and very detailed web site. So often authors who write great books but do little on the web to push their books disappoint me. Jackie even has a Facebook page that a fan can use to keep up to date with all her news.
I really enjoyed my introduction into Jackie Collins novels. It was an interesting, developing story that was easy to get into and enjoy. In some ways the book did lack depth in the description of the scenes and the places the stars visited. I am sure I will try another of her books and I might even go into the same Bookshop in the hope I get the same Cashier serving me again!!
I surprisingly enough recommend this enjoyable fictional insight into the Rock business.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
Thanks for reading.
Publisher: Pan Books
Price: £0.30 up to £5.99 New on Amazon
About the author: www.jackiecollins.com