BY ANDREW MOODY
If a critic can be of any value or use in today’s strange times, in my humility I offer that I have now read Sinead O’Connor’s new memoir so you do not need to. It is dreadful in the truest sense of the word, as if Laurie Penny had been a pop star. It is so bad, that I even complained to my Mum.
“She’s a one hit wonder from thirty years ago, what business has she writing books?”
Both my parents and I share the same Kindle account. Mum told me she’d read about 12 pages of Rememberings.
“It’s topical, though,” she told me, “but she’s an awful writer.”
“It’s only topical because the publishing world have lost the plot,” I replied.
Post-Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein’s Hollywood has fallen, their empires sinking into oblivion, and a flurry of unending #MeToo memoirs have poured out of the celebrity world. Many ageing starlets, unburdened by the beauty, talent and influence they’ve been steadily losing for decades, have taken to the pen with some curious results.
Morrissey snidely refused to publish his Autobiography unless Penguin released it as a Modern Classic, despite it never having been discussed or critiqued by any significant writer. Bret Easton Ellis released a nasty memoir White, which proved in its slimy, dishonest arrogance that the modern person does not need people like him in positions of power, especially not in the literary world. The New York Times formerly described Ellis as a “writer of real American genius,” and later that his Twitter account was the only “vital” one. Reality dawned on Ellis after his book flopped on both sides of the Atlantic. Woody Allen painted himself as a strange, troubling figure in his new book Apropos of Nothing which made no reference to his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, and the photos he had taken smiling with this most heinous of sexual predators. Sharon Stone tried her best with her awkward memoir The Beauty of Living Twice, and former Nirvana drummer and front man for Foo Fighters Dave Grohl’s new memoir is being released in October.
It appears to me that the celebrity world finds literary writing extremely difficult. They have a public persona, and writing is a solitary act, and to write well takes decades of training and education. Sinead O’Connor’s vicious and despairing new book is a case in point. Silly, juvenile and self-pitying, this nasty little book implies a certain secret familiar to everybody living life as a celebrity, and not knowing why.