• NZ Booklovers

The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

She’s a global icon, an award winning singer/songwriter and finally she shares her story – unfiltered! Although I’m not one of her ‘lambs’ (Mariah’s most loyal fans), I am fascinated by her determination to succeed and her enduring career - she has written 18 of her 19 number one hits.

In The Meaning of Mariah Carey, she shares her childhood story of resilience, including complex issues of identity, class and family trauma. It’s a captivating story of race, wealth and her self-described ‘extraness’ – who often plays up to her demanding diva stereotype. It’s not surprising that singing (with an impressive five octave range) and song writing have been a form of emotional escapism.

“This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side,” she writes.

Finding fame prior to social media, Mariah describes her helplessness as tabloid media reported on her personal life. She says it was impossible to respond in a single magazine article or television interview.

“And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.”

Mariah says it has taken until now to have both the courage and clarity to write her memoir. She wants to tell her early story and how it contributed to the person she is today. This isn’t a gossipy memoir, but an artist deconstructing her life to find meaning in her life; marriages, music and health breakdowns included.

Admittedly, Mariah only selectively shares what she wants us to see. She only briefly mentions her children and doesn’t include her engagement to James Packer. The omissions clearly show how Mariah is controlling the narrative, something she hasn’t been able to do for most of her career.

Regardless, this is an entertaining rags to riches story! It’s an excellent self portrait of an often misunderstood artist. Mariah remains one of the most prolific singer/songwriters and producers.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Macmillan Publishers, RRP $39.99