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If Only Hardcover – 14 Oct 1999
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I look at myself sometimes and think, You spoilt brat. You don't realise how lucky you are. I'm just trying to be happy. Aren't we all?"There are few things more rewarding than being able to prove your doubters wrong, and with her autobiography former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell obviously feels that she has silenced a few of those who believed she was simply a loud-mouthed young girl who struck it lucky.
Written in a first-person narrative, the result is a surprisingly engaging and enjoyable read as Geri recounts the events that shaped her formative years. The celebrity whirlwind that her life has become may seem like a heady dream for most of us, but her early days will ring a familiar tone with many. She didn't come from a rich family and would while away hours singing along to Madonna songs in the mirror. These early chapters reinforce the "little girl lost" image Geri seems so desperate for you to buy into throughout the book, but her relationship with her father, a man who encouraged her to chase her dreams, is genuinely touching.
Those expecting a bitching session will be disappointed--Geri pours praise on her former bandmates whenever possible, making some of their comments since her departure seem more than a little harsh but perhaps that is Geri just being clever. It's clear that she still feels a great affection for the girls, especially Mel B, who Geri bonded with right from the start. Those early days of Spice seemed a rollercoaster of laughs and highs, but as Girl Power reached an almost fever pitch, Geri felt constrained and almost trapped to the point where she knew she had to leave but didn't really know why.
Overall, this a fun and frothy "rages to riches" tale of her sheer determination, rather than any great talent, finding a platform to perform to the world like the little girl who used to dance to Madonna in her bedroom. --Jonathan Weir
From the Back Cover
'I was standing on this mountain top and I jumped, not knowing where I was going to land. I just had to get my feet back on the ground.' Geri Halliwell
In May 1988 a twenty-five-year-old woman walked out of her job, and it made world news. Geri Halliwell had left the biggest pop phenomenon of the Nineties, the Spice Girls.
Geri had come a long way from her modest childhood in Watford. Like many other starstruck young girls, she would dress up, stand on the table with a hairbrush in her hand and sing along to Madonna. She wanted to be a pop star. She wanted to marry George Michael. She wanted to be famous. Geri had boundless energy, plenty of cheek and she always stood apart from the crowd. However, the road to fame is all too often a rocky one. After leaving school she also left home, and attempted to scrape a living through a series of dead-end jobs. Following stints as a glamour model, various auditions for stage and screen roles, and a taste of celebrity - as a game-show hostess in Turkey - Geri responded to a curious advertisement placed in The Stage, looking for candidates to form an all-girl band. The rest is history.
As Ginger Spice, Geri's stage presence was formidable, her outfits legendary. The band enjoyed a succession of number one hits, two phenomenally successful albums and a box office hit movie. But Geri wanted her feet back on the ground. It was time to go, to find out who she was when she wasn't Ginger Spice.
Geri is now focusing on building a successful solo career. Over the last year she has also been working on behalf of the UN, Breast Cancer Care and Comic Relief.
Geri's autobiography is funny, frank, poignant, incisive and, in the best sense, inspirational. At its heart, If Only is about fame and the rollercoaster journey one girl took from believing it would provide the answer to life's problems to her discovery that the real solutions lie elsewhere.
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Her descriptions of her days as a glamour model conveyed how tough you need to be in that world, and I gained a lot of respevt for her reading about her standing up for her rights, and also her vulnerability when people doubted her or insulted her.
This book shows that persevation is the ultimate in success, and also making an impression.
I was fascinated by how much preparation went into The Spice Girls before they ever released a single. I was glad that this was not a soap box to be bitchy about the other band members, and I thoroughly understood Geri's reasons for leaving.
It was poignant to learn about Geri's relationship with her father which was a touching theme throughout the book. I also felt a lot of empathy for her bulimia and its triggers.
Overall, I feel a deep respect for Geri after reading her autobiography, and I shall definitely keep Cosmic Shopping Lists. I hope she continues to prove to be an inspiration in her writing as she has a real talent.
I thought that the writing was fluent and open and I admire Geri greatly for putting pen to paper but I have read many works which I enjoyed much more.
I would recommend this if you are a fan of the Spice Girls or just pop music in general but do not expect to be blown away by it.
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