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Chart Throb Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD

3.2 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Audiobooks; Abridged edition edition (2 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846570735
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846570735
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,539,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An absolute coup of black comedy."-"Daily Telegraph" on Popcorn.

Book Description

A biting social satire of one of the world's most popular cultural phenomena from the bestselling author of The First Casualty.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Chart Throb is Ben Elton in full satire mode. This time, the likes of reality TV shows like Pop Idol, The X Factor and The Osbournes deservedly come under fire. Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne are the stars of the show, although they're given new names and Mrs. Osbourne has been made a transsexual for the benefits of the story. It's stated unambiguously - and rather clumsily - early in the story that the book's characters have nothing to do with their real life counterparts, but Mr. Elton is fooling nobody. Calvin 'Cowell' Simms is a cynical media genius, Rodney 'Walsh' Root is a desperately status-sensitive failure, and Beryl 'Osbourne' Blenheim is an equally cynical fraud who plays the nuturing mother only when the cameras are rolling on her and/or her family.

It's hard to say where Chart Throb exposes the truth about exploitative shows like The X Factor and where the book's eponymous TV program is a far more exaggerated, cruelly cynical form of the shows it righteously pardoies. Mr. Elton is more privy to life behind the cameras than you or I; a short note at the end of the book letting us know from where he drew his inspirations might have made even more interesting reading.

As some of the other reviewers have pointed Mr. Elton does overplay certain jokes in Chart Throb. The vacuous, "keep dreaming the dream, babes" reality TV soundbites are funny the first few times they are repeated to show them in their full, trite witlessness. However, these same catchphrases are used whenever a camera is turned onto any one of the Chart Throb culprits/victims, which is to say almost constantly. The satire becomes as overused as the subject matter.

In spite of this book's flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Format: Paperback
No-one would disagree that Ben Elton is a masterful observer of contemporary society. Once again here, he taps into the frustration with the X factor/Pop idol culture that seems to have dominated our "empty lives" in the last few years.

His observations are shrewd, funny and probably altogether true. You'll certainly never take another episode of these dire programmes seriously!!

The problem is that, once the jokes have been told, there is very little else here and the book drags on and on. The plot is flimsy, unfulfilling and ultimately fairly silly (without being clever) and you warm to none of the characters leaving you caring nothing about what happens to any of them.

Sometimes I think that the Ben Elton book machine latches onto the subject du jour much as a stand up comic plan his latest routine. Unfortunately, the book has to be readable and gripping as well and here, with Chart Throb, Mr Elton fails.
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Format: Hardcover
Elton has provided the reader with an experience even more tedious than the very thing he wants to parody. From an author who has (up until this point) always written top notch satire, Chart Throb lumbers along like a valium fed elephant through a molasses lake.

The repetition, once the point has been made, is simply annoying, most of the characters so cartoonish as to be literally two dimensional, and the balance of the book so hopelessly off kilter (I thought the audtition day would never end) that the reader's eyes beg to skip forward whole paragraphs at a time. But worst of all, a "twist" ending that buggers all logic, feels horribly contrived and tacked on, cheats the reader, and - for want of a better word - stinks.

I own all of Ben Elton's books and cherish them all. Except this one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a one-note, not-so-subtle simplification of the world of reality tv backstage manipulations that will feed every conspiracy theorist's most passionate arguments for why their favourite didn't win, but major crystal ball gazing plaudits should go to Ben Elton for foreseeing a major transgender star emerging from a reality show following an already famous family. I eagerly await to see which other predictions land so accurately.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A huge fan of Ben Elton's writings (Dead Famous, Popcorn and First Casualty in particular), I had rather looked forward to reading this, especially as it returns to the world of reality TV so brilliantly exposed in Dead Famous.

Unfortunately, this just doesn't quite pack the punch that I was expecting. That's not to say it's a bad read, in places it manages to scale the heights, it's just not that consistent and has a few low points. By another authors standards this would be acceptable, but judged against the incredibly high standards of Ben's other books it doesn't compare well.

There are two main problems: Firstly, the nature of the target being shot down. X-Factor and its imitators might seem like and easy target, but in fact they are so ridiculous in real life that it is hard to satirise them. Ben does his best, but this is a task just beyond even his great skill. Secondly, the characterisations. In real life Cowell and his cronies are almost caricatures, to try and satirise them Ben has had to create a series of characters that take their characteristics and makes them even more ridiculous. This is a serious problem, part of the beauty of Ben's other works is that he creates characters that are believable, and you can relate to. Here the characters are totally unbelievable, and you thus stop believing in the world he has created.

There are high points, the book provides a valuable insight to how reality shows work and are created. The general plot and expose of the cynical machinations are interesting and well put together. The language and structure are up to Ben's usual high standards, which lifts the whole thing.

All in all a good try, and perfectly readable, but not Ben's best. For a better attempt at reality TV read Dead Famous.
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