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IN THE END WE ALL FADE TO BLACK Pink haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs de sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death Hilda and Benji s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away But when Hank s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she s come to Echo Park searching for and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life Hilda and her friend Benji travel LA looking at various places where celebrities have died They meet Hank, who lives in an apartment where a silent film star killed himself, and Hank and Hilda start a friendship At first, it seemed this was going to be like a goth Tuesdays with Morrie Then Hilda meets this douchey screenwriter and a budding romance begins This book has character problems Mainly, the protagonist can t seem to meet a normal male human being Her friend Benji seems like Kip Ki Hilda and her friend Benji travel LA looking at various places where celebrities have died They meet Hank, who lives in an apartment where a silent film star killed himself, and Hank and Hilda start a friendship At first, it seemed this was going to be like a goth Tuesdays with Morrie Then Hilda meets this douchey screenwriter and a budding romance begins This book has character problems Mainly, the protagonist can t seem to meet a normal male human being Her friend Benji seems like Kip Kingle, Jake lacks depth and he s the love interest , and Hank is a colorful eccentric who doesn t get the attention he deserves because of the other two Basically, the book ended the way anyone could figure, and that is pretty disappointing The book has a neat quirkiness, but ultimately it just doesn t pay off the way it should.Inspired by the beginning where Hilda lists her favorite dead people, I decided to add my own list of favorite celebrities with tragic deaths in no particular order 1 Jeff Buckley2 Keith Moon3 Gilda Radner4 Heather O Rourke5 Robert Johnson6 Rock Hudson7 Elizabeth Short8 Marilyn Monroe9 The Cast of Rebel Without a Cause10 Vic Morrow I m scolding myself for waiting so long to start this book But that doesn t matter now because I did read it and I loved it Actually, it may even be my favourite book of 2016 They were scavengers feeding off others, obsessed with lives that were not their own Yes, it s morbid, likely disturbing for some people, but it s real, gritty and packed with emotion, which I really did not expect.I ll admit to going through a phase where I was obsessed with weird famous deaths I was young, naive and l I m scolding myself for waiting so long to start this book But that doesn t matter now because I did read it and I loved it Actually, it may even be my favourite book of 2016 They were scavengers feeding off others, obsessed with lives that were not their own Yes, it s morbid, likely disturbing for some people, but it s real, gritty and packed with emotion, which I really did not expect.I ll admit to going through a phase where I was obsessed with weird famous deaths I was young, naive and lost I never took it to the extreme they did in this book, I never looked at pictures or visited where it happened It wasthat I wanted to know WHY Why would someone do that to themselves or someone else John Belushi once said that happiness is not a state you want to be in all the time I knew what he meant He was talking about the uncontrollable urge to fuck it all up, the desire to put a knife in the toaster of existence just to see what would happen To put a bomb under your blessings and watch them blow sky high To swan dive off the precipice and give in to the free fall That right there was me I did that, I felt that, that s how I lived Anyway my point was that I understood Hilda Her character was flawless She grew so much through this book and never even realised it She let go and moved on, thanks to the help of one grumpy secretive man and even her psychotic best friend helped her accept her past and live.This wasn t just well written the story was well formed, the characters were three dimensional and everything just worked It even had me upset near the end And again I ll say I loved it Something about the premise of this book interested me Probably because I can be a bit morbid myself But very early on, it becomes obvious that Hilda and Benji aren t just a bit morbid Benji in particular can be downright ghoulish It s one thing to visit graves in publicly accessible cemeteries, and another entirely to take pilgrimages to sites of famous murders and suicides to take pictures and collect souvenirs The way they meet Hank, by showing up uninvited at his apartment to take pictu Something about the premise of this book interested me Probably because I can be a bit morbid myself But very early on, it becomes obvious that Hilda and Benji aren t just a bit morbid Benji in particular can be downright ghoulish It s one thing to visit graves in publicly accessible cemeteries, and another entirely to take pilgrimages to sites of famous murders and suicides to take pictures and collect souvenirs The way they meet Hank, by showing up uninvited at his apartment to take pictures of his bathroom because a celebrity committed suicide there It s pretty creepy It takes a good 50 pages or so to get into Hilda s head enough that I could move past being disturbed at her level of death tourism It was these first 50 pages that moved slowly for me Once I could start to understand Hilda, I started to get absorbed in the book She isn t the easiest character to like, but I found myself feeling strangely protective of her And increasingly so as she grew throughout the course of the story, while Benji essentially did the exact opposite.I was a little disappointed with the ending, though It felt a little too easy, a little too conveniently hopeful for everyone A little jarring, after everything that came before But I can t argue with the nearly 300 pages that came before that last chapter, or with some of the ambiguities that Charles did decide to leave unresolved Although it could be a tough book to get through in some spots, connecting to Hilda was enough for me to all but swallow it whole 1 2John Belushi is dead is the debut novel from Australian author Kathy Charles Hilda is a teenager living in LA, who, along with her oddball friend Benji, has an unhealthy obsession with celebrity death They spend most of their free time scouring historical crime scenes in search of macabre keepsakes But when they meets an old loner, Hank, on one of their outings, Hilda s world view begins to change, and so does her relationship with Benji.To be honest, for me, this started off a little 1 2John Belushi is dead is the debut novel from Australian author Kathy Charles Hilda is a teenager living in LA, who, along with her oddball friend Benji, has an unhealthy obsession with celebrity death They spend most of their free time scouring historical crime scenes in search of macabre keepsakes But when they meets an old loner, Hank, on one of their outings, Hilda s world view begins to change, and so does her relationship with Benji.To be honest, for me, this started off a little tacky, the writing a bit clunky self conscious The author had tendency towards name dropping seemed a little too interested in promoting her extensive film industry actor knowledge For a while I was skimming considered throwing in the towel Fortunately, this is one of those INCREDIBLY rare books, in my experience, that actually improves as it goes along You can almost see the writers growth throughout the book, and it really is a joy to behold By the halfway mark she has really hit her stride the story prose become seamless and thoroughly digestible She demonstrates a real talent for dialogue and it s muchprofound than I originally thought The characters are flawed but become likeable three dimensional By the end I really was invested in them their stories The dialogue especially, is great I probably am a pretty good audience for this kind of book as I grew up on Hollywood movies have always had a solid interest in film And true crime In fact I can be a little bit of an oddball about it myself In summary, this book isn t perfect and undoubtedly won t appeal to everyone, but I think it could definitely find a solid following in my opinion it s an impressive first novel