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Celebrity Memoirs: Thoughts please!


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Initial post: 3 Aug 2010 11:07:34 BDT
Rosie17 says:
What are your feelings on celebrity memoirs, both autobiographies and biographies?

With Katie Price releasing another TWO this year, I was wondering how these types of books are perceived.

Are they a guilty pleasure? Do you love indulging in the trials and tribulations of the latest reality star? Or do you believe such books should only be published about people who are more "worthy" i.e. have accomplished great things.

Also, there are always reports of how much celebrities are getting paid for these books, which are usually ghost written. Are they worth the investment?

So many questions.... I hope you can help!

Posted on 3 Aug 2010 23:25:37 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I don't really go in for these types of books. I have got Ellen MacArthur's books, but they are about how she got into sailing, and the second one is of her voyage. It is slightly different say when a celebrity has been in the business for years and is quite old, they have something to write about, but nowadays it is a plethora of Z listers that have only been on tv for five minutes. I was reading an article about last years range of celeb biogs out for christmas, a lot of them were eventually pulped as they didn't sell. Apparently for christmastime this year we are going to be offered better quality, and Michael Caine will have a book out.

I suppose people that read the likes of Hello or OK magazine like these kind of books, the more salacious the better.

Posted on 4 Aug 2010 18:57:51 BDT
M. Sikkila says:
A biography or autobiography, to be interesting, must reflect what is interesting and unique about its subject. This is where many celebrity memoirs fail. Rex Harrison, for example, was interesting because of the backstage story to his many, successes, but he had nothing to say on any other topic. Alec Guinness, on the other hand, filled his writings with interesting observations on language, storytelling, people, travel, the weather and many other subjects. The current glut of celebrity bios are simply trying to cash in on the subject's 15 minutes of fame before it burns out. These days anyone with a notable TV appearance, drug arrest, messy divorce, professional scandal, "wrongful conviction" or suitcase full of opinions writes a tell-all book. What is still a mystery is why anyone buys them.

Posted on 7 Aug 2010 20:06:10 BDT
Charlotte says:
Not sure whether this counts as celebrity but Rupert Everett Red Carpets and Banana skins is hilarious.

Posted on 8 Aug 2010 00:26:24 BDT
The trouble with biographies and especially autobiographies, they're all me me me! After a while, I can get so bored. Surely if I had the time, if my life was less busy, my life would be far more interesting to read. Why waste hours, days of my life, reading about others hackneyed lives.

Posted on 8 Aug 2010 11:38:11 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I enjoyed Christopher Lee's autobiography. He wrote about about Peter Cushing and others as well. It gave you a peek into what it must have been like working on all those old Hammer movies.

Posted on 9 Aug 2010 22:31:32 BDT
monica says:
I'm not altogether sure of what a 'celebrity' is. When the word first came into popular usage in this sense, it meant the same as 'famous person'--now it seems to mean 'artificially famous person'. It's just too fuzzy. Sure, Christopher Lee is famous only for being in popular films, but I don't think he's regarded as a celebrity in the sense Rosie17 seems to mean even though I doubt he had a great range as an actor. Not arguing, just musing. . .Perhaps the fuzziness is the appeal of the word?

As I understand the original question, celebrity autobiographies are probably contemptible (I've not read any), a way of giving rich people who've done nothing original, helpful, or admirable more money and more celebrity. But if celebrity means being famous in a pop cult way, perhaps like Christopher Lee, the books can be worthwhile. Albert Goldman's biography of Elvis Presley is a wonderful book, for example. . .

Posted on 13 Aug 2010 11:08:56 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I was on a children's show when I was about 13 and got asked a question on camera, so in today's world I must be a celebrity :).

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2010 19:35:40 BDT
monica says:
Not unless you've written your memoirs and 'designed' a line in clothing or scent.

Posted on 14 Aug 2010 11:48:24 BDT
M. Dowden says:
lol......monica, perhaps I should do that, make an album and get married, selling the rights to OK or Hello magazine.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2010 00:40:38 BDT
gille liath says:
Did you know Christopher Lee was an RAF pilot during the war (as was Roald Dahl)? His autobio, Tall, Dark & Gruesome, is actually quite interesting for entirely non-showbiz reasons.

In answer to the question, celeb memoirs are diverting enough if they're sufficiently funny and scandalous. I enjoyed those of Tony Curtis and George Best.

Posted on 15 Aug 2010 21:16:04 BDT
Elmira Gulch says:
The vast majority of todays so called celebrity Bio/Autobio, are by or about people who haven't even been around long enough to have had a life worth writing about. It is as someone else wrote just ME,ME,ME. The people who have had a life which is in all probability, interesting,witty,funny or touching seldom get written about. The answer is just don't buy this trash and then just maybe publishers will think twice about wasting all that paper and thereby help the environment

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2010 19:05:25 BDT
Lilian says:
I don't go for books such as those 'written' by Katie Price. However I can recommend Richard Madeley's story as it is about his childhood as well as his 'celebrity' life and is very interesting and often sad. I've passed it on to a friend and can't remember the title, but it's something like Father's and Sons I think. I've also read Nicky Campbell's book 'Blue-eyed boy' which is about his adoption and subsequent life and leads into his family life now. A good read even though Nicky is a bit too free with the 'F' word in my opinion.
As for guilty pleasure.....well John Barrowman is one of mine, along with Stephen Fry and Paul O'Grady. The fact that they are all gay just seems to be a complete waste of three good men as far as I'm concerned:-)

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2010 21:36:15 BDT
Elmira Gulch says:
A waste of good men to you, but not to at least three lucky gay guys out there. I would just make one observatio which is that I had the impression that Paul O'Grady was not exclusivly gay. Please do correct me if I am wrong. And what about Rupert Everett would you not also consider him a waste. If more celebrities were to be open and honest about themselves I think you would find even 'Greater Waste' and a few shocks as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2010 17:28:29 BDT
I think the most interesting part of any autobiography is often the childhood/ teenage years. People write about childhood with great honesty (unlike later years when they're worried about who they will offend or be sued by), and often with a depth of feeling that makes you like them more or at least understand why they are as they are.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2010 15:18:23 BDT
You don't need to spend much - there are always loads in charity shops. I think some are really interesting - from the past eg Vivian Leigh (as in Gone with the Wind), Kathryn Hepburn, Sidney Poitier - you get to see behind the star.

Posted on 21 Aug 2010 13:59:53 BDT
E. Walker says:
I come at this topic from another angle. I just published a book on Kindle about the first six months of my baby's life. I partly did this because I wanted to honor a real, true experience--the unique glory of a new and non-celebrity life! I was partly motivated to do this because we get to hear so much about celebrity childhoods and motherhoods--I thought it was time for a different kind of story. Baby Diary: The Story of Charlotte Hope

Posted on 23 Aug 2010 10:20:51 BDT
M. Dowden says:
E. Walker, well I must say that is something different. It may appeal to those who are thinking of having a baby. Personally I like other people's babies, because when they leave a message in their nappies I can just hand them back : ).

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2010 12:13:58 BDT
There are so many memoirs written by 'real' people who have led interesting, amazing lives and who will never receive the oxygen of publicity that the celebs enjoy. A real pity. A good example of an 'unknown' who overcame tremendous odds is Patsy Whyte, author of No Easy Road. She was born in an army barracks in Aberdeen condemned as unfit for human habitation. A traveller, her family was destroyed by the 'state' in the 1950s and she grew up in 'care'. Her book, which details her struggles to survive up to the age of 16, is an incredibly moving account of what it's like to grow up without the support of a real family. It deserves to be more widely read.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2010 19:09:43 BDT
E. Walker says:
Thanks for your message M. Dowden. I very humbly offer my book as the possibility of indirectly experiencing new motherhood without any need for nappy/diaper-changing! I'm hoping the book will also appeal to those who remember those days with their newborns as a blur that they didn't get a chance to write about. And I'm hoping more people will create such books--because the story of every baby (and the baby each of us was) matters so much. I recently saw the new documentary called Babies (following four babies from all over the world, four years in the making) and was struck yet again by the power of focusing on real stories. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2010 19:10:44 BDT
E. Walker says:
Wow--gosh, thanks for that recommendation and for your rightful reflection on the importance of giving air to such stories.

Posted on 23 Aug 2010 21:01:05 BDT
jenna says:
To be quote honest what more can we learn about a celebrity that isn't already been reported in the paper. Most don't even write their own books or even read a book. A interesting book that I have recently pre-ordered from Amazon is "Wake Up, Mummy" by Anna Lowe if you are interested in true life stories.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2010 23:53:34 BDT
E. Walker says:
I completely agree with you Jenna. And thanks for the great recommendation too--I'll be sure to check out Lowe's book.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2010 23:53:52 BDT
E. Walker says:
I completely agree with you Jenna. And thanks for the great recommendation too--I'll be sure to check out Lowe's book.
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Participants:  14
Total posts:  24
Initial post:  3 Aug 2010
Latest post:  23 Aug 2010

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