Friday, August 05, 2011

Miles to Go

book review

Book: Miles to Go
Author: Miley Cyrus (with Hilary Liftin)
Genre: Autobiography

Celebrities find it imperative to tell the world all about their lives by penning a memoir (or by hiring a ghost writer to do it for them), sometimes because they really have an intriguing story to tell, but mostly because it translates into a big, fat paycheque. But when teenagers start publishing their autobiographies, it seems only logical to assign their motives to the latter; what profound life experiences could have befallen a 16 year old that would be interesting enough to warrant a 250 paged book? It was this curiosity that led me to Miles to Go, the autobiography of teen starlet Miley Cyrus, who gained global recognition after being cast in the lead role of the Disney sitcom Hannah Montana in 2006.

Published in 2009, the book sees the singer/actress tell the story of her journey to showbiz stardom, sharing memories and experiences about her life in Tennessee, her relationship with her family (including country singer dad Billy Ray Cyrus, mom Tish, and grandfather Ronald Ray Cyrus to whom the book is dedicated), being bullied in school, her feeling for ‘prince charming’ (who is widely, albeit unconfirmedly, believed to be Nick Jonas), auditioning for Hannah Montana, shooting the series, facing difficulties in getting along with a co-star, and celebrating her 16th birthday at Disneyland. Also, lists appear throughout the book that shed light on stuff like things that make her sad, people she can’t live without, places she wants to go, things she might be when she grows up, and stars she’d like to work with.

As a book, Miles to Go is a simple, adequately written work that is a fairly quick read. The content of the book not only present a look at the life of one of the most successful young stars of recent years, but also tries very hard to make the singer seem relatable to her fans, and draw lessons from each of her experience and stories, and if you are a tweenager who happens to be a Miley fan, then there are enough little bits of info in the book to make you positively giddy. If, however, you don’t fall in the book’s target demographic, then your opinion of it might differ greatly. To begin with, you probably won’t care that Miley likes oatmeal with ice cream or that she never wears blue and orange together, and then when she tries a little too hard to seem deep and insightful, you might find yourself being sceptical about what you read: is this really Miley’s voice? Or is this just what everyone wants her to say? Why does the person in the book contradict the girl portrayed in the media? Sure you get to know things about her by reading the book, but do you really get to know *her*?

So on the whole, your response to Miles to Go will depend largely on you, the reader. Miley fans will love it and cherish every little detail that the writer has to offer; her detractors will roll their eyes at the mere mention of its title and find its content cringe worthy; while neutral readers will probably take it for what it is: a guarded look into the life and rise to fame of a teenage star who is trying really, really hard to set forth a positive image, and who may appease diehard fans with this volume but probably should’ve waited a few more decades to write a book about her life so that the content could have been more substantial and its appeal a little wider.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 5th August, 2011

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