Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles

John Belushi
Hilda and her best friend Benji have a fascination with visiting the sites where famous people died in Los Angeles. They also enjoy collecting artifacts from these sites, spending time on websites learning more, and reading guidebooks to find more. They are both a bit outside the mainstream, battling the grief and darkness within.

One day, they visit an apartment where someone died and meet Hank, a grumpy old shut-in. Hilda ends up striking up an unlikely friendship with Hank, only to discover he has secrets of his own.

I loved this book. Charles has created a cast of authentic characters, each so deeply flawed yet entirely sympathetic. There's nothing rosy here, no Hallmark moments, just people trying to come to grips with life and death and their own actions. The city of Los Angeles is a vibrant character in its own right and I have to admit that was part of the appeal of the story. There's such a fascinating history to Hollywood and all that goes on underneath the glamor.

Hilda's obsession with death may seem a bit off-putting at first, but it is easy to understand as you read the book. I think that her relationships with Benji and Hank are interesting and make the story so rich.

There were so many moments throughout the story that I just wanted to sigh with the truth of it. I loved these characters and I cared about their fate.

Charles is unafraid to go where the story needs to go and yet this book is very hopeful. I read it and thought about it for so long afterwards. It's the story of life and also of death and how the living go on after death. It's a story about choosing what's good for you, and taking control of your fate. And it's about love and the many forms it takes, and the ways we reach each other.

Rating: 4.75/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Profanity
Source of Book: Received from publisher for review
Publisher: MTV (Simon & Schuster)


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