Otherwise Pandemonium – Nick Hornby (a review)

Otherwise Pandemonium / Not a StarOtherwise Pandemonium / Not a Star by Nick Hornby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have such a love for Nick Hornby. His ability to just put you in the head of completely different people never ceases to amaze me. This is a short story book with only two stories in it. One is from the first person perspective of a teenage boy, and the second is from the perspective of a middle-aged woman. Both stories are great, of course, but the graceful ease in which he moves from one to another just blows my mind. I didn’t even have to adjust between the two completely different voices. It just works. He just works. Maybe if I continue to read his books over and over I might actually manage the same? I would LOVE to write men with the accuracy and skill that Nick Hornby writes women.

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Oh, Mary…

Mary Higgins Clark died. I remain unsettled and yet I have known for days. It is strange, perhaps, the toll the death of a celebrity takes on those who consider themselves fans. In death they remain as present in our lives as they always were. Their works remain. And through their works we can actually pretend, if we like, that they still walk the mortal realm.

And yet there is sadness still.

I feel like a silly person.

But I did love you, Mary. If not most for the opportunity to share the love I have for you with my own mother. Whose name is, incidentally, also Mary.

I remember falling in love with mystery because of Peter Nelson. I was a Molly Fox girl. I had to know what happened. For some reason Nancy Drew didn’t excite me quite as much. My 12 year old self could not understand how my mother could be so disinterested in mysteries laid out in these written-for-kids mystery novels.

And then she handed me Where Are the Children. It was too sophisticated for me as a 12 year old, but I didn’t care. I still needed to know what happened. 25+ years later I still have that same feeling every time I dive into the first chapter of a Mary Higgins Clark novel.

What the hell happened?

So thank you for that, Mary. Thank you for being faithful to your career all these years. Thank you for the consistent air of curious mystery. Thank you for the heroines who are by no means mice, but fierce warriors who love to eat sandwiches (seriously: they all eat carbs it’s wonderful!)

Rest easy, Beautiful Soul. You will always be alive and well in our bookshelves…