Chart Throb Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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"An absolute coup of black comedy."-"Daily Telegraph" on Popcorn.
A biting social satire of one of the world's most popular cultural phenomena from the bestselling author of The First Casualty.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From start to finish Ben Elton treats his reader like an idiot. He writes as if he is the only person on earth to have figured out what music shows are really all about. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Minnie
Have alwasys liked Ben Elton's books and found this to no exceptionPublished 15 months ago by ChristianS
One of the few books that I have re-read, fantastic book and always make me smile and laugh. Have recommended it to many people who have also enjoyed it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Empo