For more than 75 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose has joined the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network, taking to the virtual pages of Kirkus Reviews Online to dish on the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books.
It reads in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” This is a line of argument that is hard to put past a smitten tween-age girl. To her, the latest pop icon is the greatest, absolute and most undeniably awesome singer/performer that has ever been, never to be surpassed until, shockingly, they are. To condense this concept down a little, let us just say that Timberlake begat Zac Efron (sort of), which begat The Jonas Bros. (kinda), which begat Robert Pattinson (maybe, RPattz, maybe), which leaves it to Bieber.
To anyone old enough to drive, that would be Justin Bieber, pop sensation and protégé of former pop sensation (and now after a decade in the biz, something of a “legacy” artist I suppose) Usher. He of the floppy hair, purple hoodie and the hymns of “Baby, baby, baby, oh,” and a throng of young girls at the cusp of their womanhood at his back.
I was shocked to find, in conversation with my Popdose colleagues, that Bieber was still relevant, having thought he slipped off that upper tier by now. Hadn’t Taylor Lautner not pulled off his shirt recently and distracted them?
Apparently not. To my chagrin, I was informed that the Biebs was still as potent as ever. This was further proven when, on a shopping excursion to by a pair of jeans (do you have any sizes in extra-extra-extra relaxed, please?) I realized the mens department was directly adjacent to the girls department. Two who couldn’t have been any older than any seventh grader were in deep discussion over the part Saint Justin played in their lives…and they were filthy.
I’m not a prude; at least I keep telling myself I’m not, but these girls went into detail about what they would do to and with the Bieb-dawg if they ever got a handle on him, and I felt like I was 90 years old and ready to hit the toiletries department, fetching bars of soap with which to wash their mouths out. Something was coming out of them and, doggone it, it weren’t no hallelujahs.
And therein lies the main conundrum of the book Belieber: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber. Yes, he comes off as a pretty good kid with a dream that, thanks to his famous mentor, has come true ten-fold. In assertions that the kid won’t forget where he came from, a veneer of sincerity is shellacked pretty heavily on the text; so heavily that it is hard to believe (or beliebe, I suppose) that he won’t follow through. And yet, that’s exactly what this kind of book is intended to do.
There is an arc of superstardom that is seldom deviated from, and the books that follow along mark the territory clearly. At the start of success, that first ravenous hit of the spotlight, you have books like these that sanctify the subject to a ridiculous degree. The adult that reads it gets cramps in the face from all the eye-rolling, but the book was not meant for adults, and probably not for male adults either. These are written to confirm all the adolescent dreams of the tween girls who would (ahem) make Bieber see God if he would (ahem, ahem).
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