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I so enjoyed A Star is Bored! I thought it was sweet, funny and entertaining. It’s also very much full of heart. Byron participated in a Q&A earlier in the year and I asked him what was his favorite chapter to write. Here’s what he said:
The beginning was my favorite. In fact, the original first chapter was so long I had to cut it way down so we met Kathi Kannon sooner. It was based on when I first met Carrie and that job interview was so magical and surreal that I remember every single detail and it’s hard to not want to over-write about it. I tried to capture the moment and hope you get a sense of that when you read it.
Charlie Besson is tense and sweating as he prepares for a wild job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and People magazine’s Worst Dressed list. She’s an actress in need of assistance, and he’s adrift and in need of a lifeline.
Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, and award-winning movie star, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in a blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known in another role: Outrageous Hollywood royalty. Admittedly so. Famously so. Chaotically so, as Charlie quickly discovers.
Charlie gets the job, and his three-year odyssey is filled with late-night shopping sprees, last-minute trips to see the aurora borealis, and an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, and as their friendship grows Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own life’s leading role?
Book Club Questions for A Star is Bored
- Let’s talk the opening scene when Charlie goes to interview Kathi. What did you think as you read this?
- Why was it so important for Charlie to get this job?
- Kathi eventually hires Charlie but doesn’t give him really any direction on what his job actually entails. How would you have reacted if you were Charlie?
- If you got the chance, would you work as a celebrity assistant?
- What did you think about the scenes when all the celebrity assistants gather together? Why do you think that none of them really knew anyone’s real name?
- Charlie comes from a hard background. His mother died when he was young and his father is cruel and unaccepting of who Charlie really is. How did working for Kathi help heal some of Charlie’s scars from the past?
- After finding his footing, Charlie gets attached to Kathi and works hard to make sure her life is going smoothly. He feels like she’s family, and almost surrogate mother, to him in many ways. Let’s talk about their relationship.
- Why do you think Kathi was so committed to the nickname “cockring” instead of calling him by his real name?
- The longer Charlie works for Kathi the more he starts to lose his identity—everything revolves around her. What are some of the key turning points for Charlie to realize he can’t work for Kathi forever?
- Charlie is so dishearten to find out that Kathi is in fact not sober. Let’s talk about these scenes and the impact on their relationship.
- Do you think Charlie made the right move by quitting?
- Let’s talk about the poignant ending! How did it help bring closure to the story?
- Charlie changed quite a bit from when we met him to the end of the story—let’s discuss his character development.
- How did this friendship change both Charlie and Kathi for good?
- This story is inspired by Carrie Fisher. How similar do you think Kathi is to the real-life Carrie?
- Have you ever worked for an eccentric boss?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for A Star is Bored! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
Limelight by Amy Poeppel
Another entertaining book that involves celebrities is Limelight by Amy Poeppel. This one is also funny and lighthearted—a great pick for a lazy Saturday day!
Allison Brinkley—wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist—discovers that her decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought. New York is more unruly and bewildering than she expected, defying the notions she developed from romantic movies and a memorable childhood visit. After a humiliating call from the principal’s office and the loss of the job she was counting on, Allison begins to accept that New York may not suit her after all.
When she has a fender-bender, witnessed by a flock of mothers at her son’s new school, she is led to the penthouse apartment of a luxurious Central Park West building and encounters a spoiled, hungover, unsupervised teenager who looks familiar. It doesn’t take long to recognize him as Carter Reid—a famous pop star who has been cast in a new Broadway musical. Through this brush with stardom, Allison embraces a unique and unexpected opportunity that helps her find her way in the heart of Manhattan.
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan is an entertaining read with low-stakes.
On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases.
The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.