Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles

John Belushi Is DeadJohn Belushi is Dead 
Kathy Charles
Publisher: MTV
Release Date: August 24, 2010

IN THE END WE ALL FADE TO BLACK.Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.
Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.
John Belushi is Dead is a very unique novel. I knew from the description that I would love it, and I did.

Hilda and her friend Benji have a very morbid hobby. They obsess over dead celebrities with tragic endings. While this is morbid, it's not over the top. There was a good balance.

What made this book amazing is the characters. There was such a colorful cast of characters. And they were all real. They all had their good and bad qualities and their quirks. 

One of my favorite characters was Hank. he was such a broken old man. I found his rudeness funny even though there was a lot of hurt behind it. I also liked uncovering his story, even though it was heartbreaking.

And Hilda. It became clear that her morbid fascination has a much more deep-rooted cause. She obsess over these tragedies because she believes if the rich and famous die like that, than it must not be so bad for her dead parents. But as she learns more and Hank and breaks away from Benji, she becomes closer to the living. 

One thing I loved about this book was all of the old movie references. I love old movies and I loved how they interacted with the story.

John Belushi is Dead is on of the better contemporaries that I've read in a while. There was heartbreak and quirkiness all wrapped in one package. This book was so unique and I loved the writing. I'm looking forward to more by Kathy Charles. 


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