Wednesday, 25 May 2011
The right to write
Who has the right to write? All of us, I guess. But when the cult of celebrity takes over and breaks into the popular fiction market, there are many writers among us who get the hackles up at this brazen move.
I’m referring to the ever-growing list of A to Z list slebs who feel the need to pen some kind of popular fiction novel. I absolutely love The Hills for light entertainment, but now that the show’s reality star Lauren Conrad has penned a novel or three, it’s made me somewhat queasy. I read an excerpt from her book and I’m not even going to share my views on its merits or lack of. Put it like this – if I was an agent’s assistant, it would be straight into the recycling basket. But readers who have ploughed their way through the first in the series, 'LA Candy' have eagerly reviewed it on websites including Amazon. “OMG, this is brilliant!!” said one. Another reviewer thought it was (alarmingly) ‘well-written.’ Apparently Lauren has stressed that she has written them all on her own without a ghost writer in sight. And I would believe that. Reading an excerpt is not good for your health as you may end up with an IQ lower than plankton. It's like...a bit like the dialogue on The Hills...like.
Another so-called ‘writer’ (cough, splutter) is Katie Price. Why bother putting your name to trashy tat which you didn’t write in the first place? I can’t understand that, apart from the financial aspect of course. No shame Katie! Granted not everyone is blessed with a good command of English, but why not do something you’re good at. Stick to modelling/taking your clothes off, or acting. It’s like me claiming to have painted the Mona Lisa when in reality I can only draw stick men. Sorry, but I’ll stick to a hobby I’m genuinely interested in, and one in which I can invest time and effort. According to reports, Katie Price hasn’t even read her own autobiography.
While these sorts of books lack literary merit (don’t clear your mantelpiece for an award love) are we justified in criticising the ‘authors’ for their fluffy tales of romance and adventure which pull in millions of readers? A sort of modern day Enid Blyton (my primary school teacher blew his lid when he caught us reading Enid!) Perhaps they are aimed at readers who otherwise wouldn’t open a book to experience escapism or to enhance grammar and spelling. Co-incidentally, Jamie Oliver and Victoria Beckham claim to never have read a book in their lives. What kind of example does this set to the computer-gaming generation? If you haven’t read a book don’t boast about it! Shut up.
And a final word - please don’t buy me any of this reading material for Christmas. I’m predicting Cheryl Cole will be the next sleb to start penning novels. Let’s see…the story will be about a reality television star who marries a premiership footballer who ends up cheating on her. You read it on Strictly first! I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or scream with jealousy. Seeing these books on shelves may well persuade any hard working author to hang up his or her quill and start stripping instead.