Social Concerns / Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

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Fame, greed, sex, drugs, and the depravity of the rock music world are the ingredients of this story about the denizens of rock-and-roll. The ambition to make it big in this world of mega-hits and screaming fans motivates three different characters in Rock Star, two males (one English, one African-American) and one female (a mixed blood European). How they make it to the top, how drugs and the rich and powerful pervade their existence, and how ultimately their basic "goodness" prevails, all make for a typical Collins read.

Collins gives lip-service to the prevailing concern about AIDs. For example, one of her main characters, Kris Phoenix, forswears promiscuity and settles down to more or less monogamous sex: He has one live-in girlfriend Astrid at his home in England and another one, Cybil, at his California home. Having fornicated his way through much of Europe and the United States over a period of several years, by the time he is about thirty, he finally becomes more sexually responsible. By 1988 Collins has become more socially responsible.

Collins almost always has as a villain a wealthy businessman who portrays the ugly side of American capitalism. Ruthless and concerned only about the bottom line, Collins's businessmen have no compunction about firing, ruining, or even killing those who get in the way of their profits and power.

One of the delights for Collins's readers is recognizing snippets of real life in the personalities and doings of her characters. Perhaps because the rock music world is, according to some critics, a somewhat alien milieu for Collins, one can find yeterday's news in many of the descriptions and events of Rock Star. For instance, Nova Citroen's fabulous jewelry collection and her violet eyes bring to mind the movie actress Elizabeth Taylor. Bobby Mondella's horrendous "accident" that left him blind and his career on the skids recalls a similar Teddy Pendergrass tragedy. Also Mondella's early beginnings as a child entertainer recall "Sugar Chile" Robinson and even "Little Stevie" Wonder. Zella Raven reminds us of the celebrity Grace Jones. Jackie Collins's own experience of being expelled from school at age 15 becomes part of Kris Phoenix's background.