Cosmo Landesman’s Starstruck is a brilliant account of the story of fame set against the backdrop of his own starstruck, mad cap family. No aspect of the so-called rise of the importance of celebrity is missed out, but without the cleverly crafted story of Landesmania! the book could have been an essay on lime light.
Luckily, Cosmo has the embarrassment of his wild old dad Jay, singer song writing mum Fran and eternal dreamer brother Miles to give everything life, as well as bringing the laughs. Following Jay and Fran through their transition from beatnik to hippie, from US to UK and from young bohemians to old self obsessives, Starstruck is an excellent account of their affair with fame throughout the years. Taking in the heady heights of New York in the early fifties, running a nightclub featuring Barbara Streisand & Woody Allen in St Louis for twelve years and emigrating to swinging London in the sixties, it is an insight into the Landsman’s journey and the evolution of celebrity culture over the years.
It’s kind of funny reading a book about people that have achieved a lot of the things that you want to achieve – having your novel published, having a well read and received underground magazine, writing songs & playing them for a living and having complete creative freedom from 9-5 every day of your life. It’s even more perplexing to find out that they were never satisfied with what they accomplished. The reality is that the Landesman’s are overachievers that simply didn’t achieve enough, but they’ve got some amazing stories out of it all.
Starstruck is a lot of fun to read, and with its musings on the concept of celebrity it’s got just the right amount of serious debate to make it more than just a story about the Landesmans. It’s a story about all of us. Next up are Jay’s The Nervous Set & memoirs. I bet they’re ace.
Cosmo Landesman, Starstruck review: 4.1/5