From A to the Z list – celeb autobiographies

I read a lot of non-fiction but, I have to admit, I’ve love to occasionally dip into low down and salacious celebrity gossip. I don’t usually bother with gossip magazines but go straight for the concentrated form and hit their  autobiographies.

And the best bit is, you never run out of reading material. A complete lack of anything to say has never stopped them. Miley Cyrus started work on her autobiography at the age of 15, Katie Price (aka page 3 model Jordan) has managed to cobble together the material for three separate autobiographies by the age of 32. Titled Being Jordan, Jordan: A Whole New World, and Jordan: Pushed to the Limit, you can only assume that last title describes the process of trying to come up with more content on a life already so well-chronicled.

Eager not to be left out, her ex-beau Peter Andre then managed to squeeze out his offering, All About Us, hopefully imbued with more originality than you would expect of a man who decided to call his child Junior. You might not expect Peter Andre to be the type to pick up a pen (or, lets be honest here, a crayon and a ghostwriter) but the most unlikely people suddenly demonstrate interest in scrawling an autobiography if given a chance – after all, how many other activities both allows you total control of your image and a chance to make money?

A total lack of public interest has never stopped them; Alec Baldwin’s A Promise to Ourselves was  published on 22 October and sold just 12 copies within that month, according to the  UK Telegraph. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll find the bargain bin full of the worst examples of celebrities writing into the void. A complete lack of truth is no roadblock. You might remember the fuss when James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, which sold two million copies in the US after it was recommended by Oprah Winfrey, turned out not so much to be a memoir about Frey’s battle with alcohol and drugs but a big pile of porkie pies carefully seasoned with lies to be deliciously edible. (A note from Frey will be included in future editions: “I embellished many details about my past experiences, and altered others in order to serve what I felt was the great purpose of the book.”)

In fact, a lack of truth can be the chief selling point. Dustin Diamond’s “Behind the Bell” was a wonderfully lurid but slightly unbelievable litany sex (and drug) scandals; Dustin claims to have had sex with more than 2,000 women, most of whom he picked up at Disneyland, and that the entire “SBTB” era was pretty much one giant pick-up joint and everyone was invited except Mr. Belding (no, really).

We’re no in danger of running out of celebrities desperate to get their own version of events out there and some of them have given us the most terribly titled books out there, including Tori Spelling — sTori Telling and R Kelly’s Soula Coaster: The Diary of Me. The jury is still out on whether David Hasselhoff’s Don’t Hassle The Hoff is the worst title of all time or just manages to squeeze over the line into so bad it’s actually good.

If you don’t have time (or value your own brain too much) to read every celebrity memoir out there you can take in the very worst of their excesses at “Celebrity Autobiography”, when a cast of comics present excerpts from celebrity memoirs at the Sydney Opera House at the end of this month. From the sublime to the ridiculous, from the banal to the most insanely boastful, from Sylvester Stallone’s pecs to how the lascivious details of  how Tiger likes to set up his holes in one, it’s all here.

Just how entertaining can celebrity autobiographies be? Well, this show sold out for three years in New York City so it’s clearly doing better than poor Alec Baldwin’s memoirs. (Just in case you hadn’t guessed, this one is not suited to kids, so leave the littlies at home if you plan to go and see it.)

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Sadhbh Warren

Sadhbh Warren is a freelance writer and proud booklover. Her name is pronounced Sive - like five – an Irish name, easier to say than spell! She lives in Sydney, writing travel and humour articles, and is always on the lookout for a great new book.