Crush brings together the nostalgic, cringe-inducing experiences of a selection of writers discussing their formative celebrity crushes. It’s a cute concept, but also one which allows for real emotions: some contributors experience sexual awakenings while watching Star Wars, while others are woken up to gender roles thanks to Little House on the Prairie. Some accounts are very short (Stephen King’s takes up under a page) while other imaginary love affairs require a page count closer to a novella (clearly Brian Austin Green is a tough guy to get over – this one was one of my favourites, actually; it’s extremely funny).
Celebrity crushes are surely one of the great unifying themes of human experience, aren’t they? Reading this book inspired me to recall some of my own, which range from the reasonably normal (Robbie Williams up to and including Everything Changes) to the obsessive (former Ipswich Town captain Matt Holland, who I once met and found myself so overcome I genuinely nearly cried), to the faintly embarrassing (look, fancying Zach Morris was way too obvious so lusting after AC Slater was fine at the time). At the age of 14, I had a sweet imaginary romance with Taylor Hanson and aggressively fought anyone who said he looked like a girl. In the mid-90s, I was obsessed with the largely fogotten TV show Seaquest DSV and its young star, Jonathan Brandis, about whom I once had a very nice, chaste dream in which he was my boyfriend and I was a marine biologist (incidentally, I Googled Brandis yesterday and discovered that he died in 2003, so clearly my commitment wasn’t that intense). Even now, as a mature 34 year old, I will pretty much only watch films that star a hot man called Chris. I love a good celebrity crush. I don’t care if it makes me seem shallow or overly concerned with appearance or fooled by the trappings of fame: in real life, I am none of these things, so sometimes it is rather pleasant to let my mind wander towards a well-sculpted pair of cheekbones.
Crush gave me a pleasing opportunity to dwell on these serious matters (and Taylor Hanson), as well as raising many rueful smiles in reaction to the writers’ mortifying experiences. It was one of those books I read and think, “I want to write something like that” (sorry, you just read it) and possibly force my students to write. Unless that’s just too weird. And also I don’t know how many times I could read about Justin Bieber without losing the will. Be warned: my new conversation starter (obviously after “what are you reading?”) will be “who was your first celebrity crush?” I have a strong urge to discuss this in the comments…
One thought on “Review & Ramble: Crush edited by Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton”
As a former queen of celebrity crushes myself, I should read this. My first crush, at the tender age of 5, was Christopher Reeve. My most intense crush (oh it’s so hard to pick!) was probably Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block. 🙂