CHOCOLATE STAR by Sheila Copeland


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 Copeland debuts with three rags-to-riches journeys that even when combined make up little more than a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous episode. All three of the African-American protagonists here are flawed. Singer Topaz Black, who began as a model, is vain, rude, and greedy--not to mention having abandoned a hardworking husband and infant son in the blink of an eye for Hollywood and the high life. Film director Gunther Lawrence started out as a self-loathing black kid in a lily-white prep school; when he strikes it rich in Hollywood, he immediately makes a point of forgetting everyone who helped him along the way. NBA star Sean ``Sylk'' Ross, meanwhile, is meant to be the good guy, but his constant praying, do-gooding, and holier-than-thou moralizing make him, if anything, even less palatable than his co-stars, who are at least frank about their selfish and ruthless behavior. Eventually, the three come together. Topaz ends up married to Gunther (who's become involved with a heavy drug scene). Before marrying, though, she'd dated Sean, whom she had hoped would introduce her to the ``right people'' (read: celebrities). Of the three, one finally dies, another is miserable and alone, the third is happier than most people have a right to be. It's all too easy, in accordance with Copeland's moral scale, to guess the outcomes--more suspense and less predictability could have offered the novel some much needed energy. The story is lacking, too, in good old-fashioned campy fun--the most important factor, after all, in any sort of Jackie Collins page-turner. The mean-spirited Topaz and Gunther are unpleasant, but not even the goody-goody Sean is appealing: in all, just plenty of glitz and three rich, unlikable people.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-15493-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1997