Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Showbiz Memoirs: A Happy Finish

"An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats."

George Orwell

I thought of this beautifully bleak quotation after reading John Harris's account of wading through the latest tranche of celebrity memoirs that have come out for Christmas.
If they write about My Struggle, they still seemed to be happy-go-lucky "tits and teeth" writing - and the fact that they are now a celebrity writing a memoir you are reading is meant to show the lie dream of life having a happy ending.
Here's Harris on Gok Wan's Through Thick and Thin.
"The plotline is simple and affecting enough: raised by a Chinese father and English mother who ran restaurants in Leicester, he feasted on what he calls "deep-fried love", and ended up chronically overweight, and bullied..."
And he's gay as a lorry to boot - should it be filed under showbiz memoir or Misery Lit?
And should every chapter be suffixed with the line; "But look at the bitch now!"?
This is autobiography as a 150 page makeover show.
The only book Harris said was any good was Paul O'Grady's The Devil Rides Out, which Fagburn can well believe.
His first memoir, At My Mother's Knee, was famously the first book in living memory to get a good review in Private Eye.
Though I'm not sure I'm completely at ease with people who are already very talented in one field who can also write extremely well.

No comments:

Post a Comment