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Madonna: Like an Icon Hardcover – 27 Aug 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
O'Brien's biography of Madonna is completely different to Taraborrelli's. Her work seems more academic in it's written style, and as a former university student this is apparent when you read that O'Brien is an academic herself. And the opening chapters tell us of her own personal fascination with Madonna as opposed to Taraborrelli's journalistic endeavours.
The biography itself charters Madonna's life up to present times, from her beginnings to the now settled adoption saga of David Banda. If you're a Madonna fan this will all be pretty familiar.
A biographer should not be afraid to critique their subject and this aspect is what made the book for me. O'Brien took a step back from the fly on the wall documentation used by Taraborrelli and psychoanalysed and critiqued Madonna, what made her the person she is now, and possibly where she is going next.
A thoroughly modern and mature read about Madonna.
It goes through every phase of her career and tells you about the process of making each album and tour. Some bits I've read before but there was a lot of new stuff too, and I found this fascinating.
It does cover Madonna's personal life but not in an intrusive way, and is much more focused on her career than any other bio I've read. O'Brien does analyse Madonna's work from a feminist perspective, but she's not heavy-handed with it at all.
O'Brien is sympathetic to her subject and counters a lot of the tabloid myths, giving a more balanced picture of what she's really like. At the same time, she doesn't put M on a pedestal and shows her as a real woman, not skirting her human flaws.
'Madonna: Like An Icon' is an intelligent biography which gives Madonna the respect she deserves as an artist.
Lucy O'Brien was once an NME writer so you might expect the intellectual, in-depth, music industry approach. The book concentrates on tracing Madonna's life though her music eg on Burning Up "over a New Order-meets-gay disco dance beat there squalls a corny rock guitar riff" Yeh right! Most of the book is like this which makes it a bit heavy going. However, you do get a sensitive female view of some of Madonna's relationships with women and men and an occasional flash of insight - like the drugs party when she was living rough in New York where she sat in the middle of the floor eating carrot sticks and the fact that Madonna still does not do drugs or alcohol and reads Hebrew!
As a whole the biography seems to be American biased which is surprising as Lucy O'Brien is English but does not get the fascination with Britain and then Kabbalah. One thing that seems to be missing is any European discography. I am sure I have heard Madonna doing What It Feels Like for a Girl in Italian or am I wrong?
Another great quote is from Jesuit priest Father Carlos Novoa writing in the Columbian Daily El Tiempo that Madonna's parody of the Crucifixion "is not a mockery of the cross, but rather the complete opposite: an exaltation of the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus" He went on to say that Live To Tell "is one of the best sermons I have witnessed in my life"
Pay the quid and read it for yourself Madge fans!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best Madonna biographies (the other is Chris Ciccone).Published 17 months ago by Faisal
I wasn't expecting much, having picked this up in a bargain bookstore, but was very pleasantly surprised and found the book quite unputdownable at times. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2013 by ronaldobiscottini
I don't know how you could write a book which could turn Madonna into a one dimensional character but somehow O'Brien has managed it. Read morePublished on 23 May 2008 by Sally