Like An Icon
Bloomberg.com posts today a review of the new book about Madonna by Lucy O’Brien. We are happy to mention that a few quotes from MadonnaTribe‘s ever growing collection of exclusive interviews to artists that have worked with Madonna, are also used in this book. Now here’s the review by
Madonna, the queen of reinvention, has contorted herself at age 49 into an earth mother (and English landowner) with a religious streak and an adopted child from Malawi. She works out obsessively, signs her own checks and frets over why her hubbie, director Guy Ritchie, isn’t nicer to her.
This is the portrait that emerges from ‘Madonna: Like an Icon‘, Lucy O’Brien‘s overly earnest, turgid biography of the bestselling female pop star on the planet.
O’Brien is a Madonna fan whose previous books include ‘She- Bop‘, a history of women in rock. Bantam bills her new work as ‘the closest you’ll get to Madonna’s autobiography.’ If so, it’s because Madonna Louise Ciccone, a.k.a. ‘Mrs. Ritchie,’ has so far published children’s books and a compilation of sexual fantasies, not memoirs.
This biography does have a few things going for it. The writing is clear, the discography is exhaustive, and the text is up to date. It mentions Madonna’s latest tours, the Live Earth charity event in July, and studio sessions with Timbaland for an album inspired by hip-hop. O’Brien also puts Madonna in the context of other female artists, including Tori Amos and Tracey Emin. Unlike previous books on Madonna, this is erudite and thoughtful, not just a rehash of press clips.
Desperately Seeking Buzz
For all that, O’Brien fails to capture the essence of Madonna, a headline-seeking provocateur who once declared that she lost her virginity as “a career move.” This is, after all, the Italian-American girl who worried that her notorious “Like a Prayer” video, with its orgasmic love scene on an altar, wasn’t graphic enough.
The best tidbit O’Brien gives us is hardly a shocker: Her marriage, we learn, was under so much strain that she considered moving back to New York without Ritchie. “Deep down, he blames her for his career nosedive,” an unidentified friend says.
Anodyne anonymous quotes permeate this book. Though O’Brien spoke to Madonna’s musicians, producers and dancers, she lacks a reporter’s knack for extracting telling remarks.
“She did not look happy,” one unnamed person says about the day Madonna visited the Kabbalah Centre in London to seek a blessing for her new son. “She seemed kind of isolated.”
Nor do we get any direct comments from the diva herself, though it isn’t clear why. “My search for Madonna became maddening,” O’Brien writes.
The author does throw out one tantalizing possibility — that her heroine “will move further into the political arena.” Then she backs off, saying Madonna will forever have a public role, “even if it isn’t overtly political.”
Confused? O’Brien offers a tip: “Whenever I am faced with a conundrum, I always go back to the songs.”
I took her advice and put on Madonna’s album, “The Immaculate Collection“. It made a far better case for the star than this book does.
“Madonna” is from Bantam in the U.K. (432 pages, 18.99 pounds). It will be published by HarperEntertainment in the U.S. this October ($24.95).
From an article by Mark Beech at www.bloomberg.com.
Thanks to our Vincy.