The Literature Hub
Reviewed by Ashleigh
Author: Erica Kennedy
Publisher & Pages: Arrow Books (Random House), 506 pages
Blurb: She’s found fame and fortune, but could she lose herself?
In the world of hip-hop Lamont Jackson is a major player. He’s CEO of Triple Large Entertainment and he’s won his considerable reputation by signing some of the most successful and controversial young rappers in the business. But now he needs to find himself an R’n’B crossover artist to prove to his paymasters that he should succeed his mentor, Irv Greene, as head of Augusta Music.
He thinks he’s found her in Marie-Jean Castiglione. Stunningly beautiful, with a voice to match, Lamont intends to mould his discovery into the perfect ghetto-fabulous superstar. But before long Mimi, as she’s to be known, is seduced by the clothes, the fame and the sophisticated lifestyle she could only dream of as a naïve young girl growing up in Toledo. Then, as her career gathers momentum, she finds herself losing control of her life.
Highlight: The main character cast features mostly African-American characters.
Caution: There is frequent use of cuss/swear words.
Highlight: The quality of writing is very high and easy-to-read.
Caution: The (greedy) male main character is extremely unlikable, as is his snobby mother.
Review: Have you ever fantasised about being famous? Have you ever imagined what it would be like to suddenly be thrust into the limelight? Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like if all your dreams came true?
If you have, then this is the story for you. Marie-Jean Castiglione (Mimi) is a half-Haitian, half-Italian woman who grew up in what is effectively a shit-hole called Toledo. Now, I don’t know if Toledo really exists…oh wait, yes I do (thank you Google!) and as it turns out, Toledo is a real place. Anyway, apologies if you live in Toledo and this is totally not true, but in the book it is described as a shit-hole (is that true?).
So Mimi is part of a girl group, Heartsong, who get an audition. As it turns out, the “Triple Large and In Charge” Lamont Jackson only wants Mimi. So Mimi takes the solo record deal and her life changes overnight. She’s given this huge apartment, she makes great new friends, and best of all, she gets to record her own album!
Except it’s not fantastic. She’s unknowingly paying rent on her apartment, her new friends are being paid to hang out with her, and she can’t record or write any of her own songs.
This is perhaps one of the very few books that I’ve read that doesn’t have a (excuse the non-PC language) white person as the main character. Sure, they feature in the book, but most of the characters are African-American, or at least of African-American descent. If you’re sick of white MC’s, then you might want to check this book out.
On the flipside, the male main character, Lamont, is a real pain in the ass. He’s extremely unlikable and I wished he would just die. He was a disgusting pig who only cared about money and if people didn’t do what he wanted, well then they were gone and all of a sudden they’re no one. He is power hungry and he loves to be in magazines. He plays the media and they lap it all up. He is encouraged by his stuck-up mother who thinks he can do no wrong. Lamont frequently “steps out” on his girlfriends and his mother thinks that is ok. Except Lamont, a 39 year old man, manipulates his new singer, a 22 year old girl, into marrying him, and a few days before the wedding the media accuses her of cheating on him. Well according to Mama Jackson, that is unforgiveable. Mimi needs to learn her place. I hated Lamont and his mother with a burning passion. They were awful characters. They were written well, but they were awful people.
Ms Kennedy has an easy-to-read style of writing, but she has only published two books (according to Amazon) and will not be publishing anymore, as she passed away in 2012, aged 42 years old. If you like her style of writing though, her other book is called Feminista.
Star Rating: 2 ½ Stars
Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD (all from Amazon)