Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

Lea Michele is best known for her role as Rachel Berry on the wildly popular TV show Glee, but she was also an incredibly successful Broadway performer before she rose to TV stardom. In this memoir/how-to book, Lea tells her story of her rise to fame, as well as gives health, fitness, and beauty advice.

Brunette Ambition is beautifully laid out with many color photos and organized in such a way that makes it feel more like a magazine than a book. I know its unconventional and innovative approach to a memoir will appeal to teen girls, but as a thirtysomething teacher I wasn't impressed. The best parts of this book were when Lea forgot about the gimmicky layout with ridiculous diversions like recipes, beauty advice, and photographs of exercises she does to stay in shape, and just got real and told her story. She is not someone I would consider an authority on food or fitness, so adding those advice column-type diversions lessened the impact of her story. Instead, this book comes off as more novelty than substance.

What also didn't sit well with me about this book is that Lea talks a lot about staying true to who you are and not changing your appearance for the sake of Hollywood, yet the photos in this book are clearly heavily airbrushed. In addition, she comes of as a bit boastful when she talks about how to be red carpet ready, which she tries to downplay by attempting to approach her advice to the  "commoner"  by saying that her words hold true whether you're getting ready for the red carpet or your high school prom.

I'm not saying there aren't special moments in this book. I really do find Lea's story and her life fascinating -- I especially loved her story of when she met her hero, Barbara Streisand. But I wish she would have just focused on being real instead of distracting the reader with so much superficiality. I don't think this is a book I will be adding to my classroom library.

Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele
Published: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Pages: 208
Genre: Memoir/How-to
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Finished copy provided by publisher

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.  

No comments:

Post a Comment