Saturday, May 14, 2011

With love from Bieber

book review

Book: First Step 2 Forever: My Story
Author: Justin Bieber
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: HarperCollins
Excerpt: “Sometimes they let a celebrity guest – a war hero, beauty-pageant winner, local news anchor, or whatever – ride in the Zamboni. And, until three years ago, that was my definition of celebrity: somebody who gets to ride around in the Zamboni. My definition of a rock star was somebody who gets to ride around in a tour bus.
A lot can change in three years.
When I was twelve, my manager, Scott “Scooter” Braun, saw a YouTube video of me performing in a local talent show. When I was fourteen, we joined forces with the recording artist Usher, who was not only one of my heroes but helped introduce me to the world. A few months after my fifteenth birthday, my first single dropped. Now I’m sixteen and about to launch my first tour as a headliner.

Whether you’ve heard his music or not, chances are you have heard of Justin Bieber, the teenage pop sensation who has become a global phenomenon on the back of his ability to send his tween- and teenage fans into a screaming frenzy. Initially coming to the world’s attention via YouTube, the Canadian singer became a hugely successful young star upon the release of his My World (2009) and My World 2.0 (2010) albums. Then, at the ripe old age of 16, he decided it was time to write a memoir, thus giving us First Step 2 Forever: My Story, an account of his almost overnight rise to fame.

Supposedly penned by Justin Bieber himself, the autobiography chronicles the events of his life, from being born to teenage parents and raised by a single mother, to getting interested in music, learning to play instruments, meeting Usher and eventually becoming the R&B star’s protégé. Along the way, Bieber details his tour preparations, offers a generous dose of praise for everyone who helped him get to where he is today, tells readers about the things he likes (girls, pizza, pranking, Chuck Norris, and yes, girls – he’s very insistent about that one), and shares stories of his successes and failures – including finishing third in a talent competition, and initially failing his driver’s test.

As you may suspect, the book is predictably light on content. The 240-page tome is chock full of photographs of the singer, and padded further with tweets and snippets from lyrics. This isn’t like a rock biography that you can delve into even if you’re not a fan of its subject and still find its content fascinating. Of course Bieber’s fans will love every word of his memoir, but while there is an inspirational aspect to his story – going from rags to riches and following his dreams – First Step 2 Forever is just not interesting enough to excite or engage non-Beliebers.

In short, the book has been written keeping his fanbase in mind and its primary reason of existence is to cash in on the whole Justin Bieber phenomenon. Readers get a chance to hear about his life in his own words and get to see lots of pictures of the pop star, thus making the book everything his fans would want; if you don’t consider yourself a diehard Belieber, however, then First Step 2 Forever is very likely to leave you unimpressed.

- By Sameen Amer

The Express Tribune - 14th May, 2011

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