Friday, November 21, 2014

Gleesome moments

book review

Book: Brunette Ambition
Author: Lea Michele

Glee actress Lea Michele appears to be having a very busy year. The 28-year-old starlet is currently working on the final season of the series that has made her a household name, but that’s not the only project which has been keeping her occupied. Her debut album, Louder, came out a few months ago, as did her first book, Brunette Ambition.

Partly autobiographical and partly motivational, the tome sees the actress share the story of how she got to where she is today, while dispensing advice on how to live a healthier life.

Lea talks about her family background and upbringing, landing the role of Cosette on Broadway when she was eight years old, her subsequent career trajectory, and the lessons she has learned along the way. Also featured are lists of her favourite things, as well as significant anecdotes from her life, like meeting her role model Barbra Streisand and singing in front of her idol. And if you want to see her childhood and family photos, then Brunette Ambition has that covered too.

The book doubles as a self-improvement guide, with tips on healthy living and motivational thoughts meant to inspire the readers. The actress encourages her fans to celebrate their quirks and roots, and enrich their lives with extracurricular activities, while also illustrating her beauty and self care essentials and no-nos, at home pampering rituals, and favourite exercises. Her love for food takes centre stage often, and her favourite recipes also find a place in these pages.

With its simple style and limited content, Brunette Ambition is a short, quick read. It isn’t meant to be a proper autobiography and doesn’t give a very comprehensive account of her life, as she opts to hold back on many topics. Most notably, while her best friend Jonathan Groff gets his own chapter, her late boyfriend and co-star Cory Monteith (who passed away last year) does not, although he is mentioned a couple of times and she does state that he provided feedback for the book in terms of notes and edits.

At times, the book, perhaps inadvertently, gives the impression that she is more focused on physical appearance than intellectual development, but it is still commendable that she is trying to inspire her young fans to improve their lifestyles by exercising and making better dietary choices. Also, her message of not letting the stress of the outside world impose on ones sense of perspective is definitely apt and important.

On the whole, Brunette Ambition is a quick, light read that takes a brief look at its writer’s world without delving too deep into its complexities. If you want a tell-all with intimate details about her life and Glee, then this isn’t the book for you. The book paints Lea as an ambitious young performer and is clearly capitalizing on her current success. As with most showbiz biographies written by younger stars, it could have been better if she had waited a few more years to rack up more (both life and professional) experience, and come up with more substantial content. As it stands, if you’re not particularly fond of Lea Michele, then it’s very unlikely that you will find the content of Brunette Ambition interesting. But her fans, who are obviously the target audience of this effort, will enjoy this look at the actress’s life.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 21st November, 2014 *

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