Monday, December 20, 2010
Book Review of Star by Danielle Steel
Author Name: Danielle Steel
Publisher: Dell, Bantam Doubleday Dell
Type of Book: Adult, historical, romance
Year it was published: March 1990
Young, innocent and strikingly beautiful Crystal Wyatt was an outcast, envied and resented by all but her devoted father, with whom she shared a deep love for their remote California ranch. When her father dies, Crystal is alone and unprotected. Devastating events shake the once peaceful valley. With nothing but her dreams, her beauty, and her awe-inspiring voice, Crystal escapes to embark on the career that will ultimately make her a star. But stardom itself is shadowed by danger and violence and haunted by a memory that must be resolved before Crystal can find happiness and peace.
Characters: The characters are on the flat side, women more so. There are two main women in the novel: the beautiful and innocent looking Crystal Wyatt and the smart intelligent Elizabeth Barclay Hill. Spencer Hill, on the other hand, is a round character, although he often ends up trying to please everyone but himself. In the end he develops courage and leaves Elizabeth for good and goes to live with Crystal. Unfortunately the characters are more of 'told' than 'show' variety. That's not a problem, but if almost every single page you're constantly told about why you should love Crystal, then it becomes a problem. "She knew there was no one to watch her as she stood gracefully in the stream, totally unaware of how startlingly beautiful she was." (3) "There was no artifice to the girl, there were no wiles, there was only that staggering natural beauty she was still unaware of." (4) and if unaware of beauty is still not bad enough, then there is constant reminder of how Crystal is different from everyone and of how she looks along with how much she loves the land fare more than anyone else. In reading novels, I would think that actions and events are far more memorable than looks.
Theme: Really, what is the message? That people are as innocent as they appear? When I think of the novel now and whatnot, I kept getting the feeling that Crystal Wyatt is supposed to be the a Marilyn Monroe type. (Anyone remember how beautiful and striking she was? This might as well have been titled 'The Ideal Marilyn Monroe.') One real theme of the novel is the idea of destiny. If its destiny to be with someone, then eventually you will be no matter what. If its destiny to be famous then you will be famous. ('Till Morning Comes and other novels demonstrate the idea far better than this novel does.) Also another one is that if bad things happen to you its because of the way you look. (I'm not kidding.) Rape, estrangement by family and friends and even being taken advantage of happened to Crystal because of the way she looks. "It was impossible to explain to him that she had few friends, that the girls hated her because of her looks, although she herself didn't understand it." (51)
Plot: There are minor twists in the plot but overall its linear and is told from 1946 up until 1963 and details Spencer's and Crystal's lives and loves. The ending will be satisfying (if your brain is still functioning by the end of the novel.)
Author Information: From wikipedia: " Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel (born August 14, 1947, New York City) better known as Danielle Steel, is an American romantic novelist and author of mainstream dramas.
"Best known for drama novels, Steel has sold more than 800 million copies of her books (as of 2005) worldwide and is the eighth best selling writer of all time. Her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks and 22 have been adapted for television." Link.
Opinion: As mentioned, if Danielle Steel didn't repeat herself constantly or try to force the reader to like the characters, perhaps I might have liked this book. But as it is, I can't stand the characters and felt irritated by them. The age gap is also disturbing. (Thirteen years!) Not bad if for example Crystal would have been twenty while he was thirty three, but she is fourteen and he is twenty-seven and both fall in love with each other instantly. In the novel, its not until she is nineteen or something that she and Spencer actually end up doing things. If you are interested in reading this novel but dont' want to spend money, here is a nice reading guide for you which will take a short time to read: Reading Guide to Star
0 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)