by Jerry Waxler
I typically avoid celebrity memoirs, not because they aren’t people too, but because their memoirs generally play by a different set of rules. Celebrities are generally given a free pass. If they are famous enough, they can write anything they please, which is nice for them, and sometimes entertaining, but it’s much harder to draw lessons that apply to us normal people. I felt that Brooke Shields’ memoir “Down Came the Rain,” while certainly the product of enormous star power, was also down to earth enough to warrant a read. It turned out to be interesting, and informative. Following are five reasons why I read it.
- I want to learn what it’s like to be inside all sorts of minds, and I’ve never been inside the mind of a supermodel before. (It wasn’t bad.)
- Even though this was a celebrity memoir, it felt very different from others I’ve flipped through. There wasn’t much name dropping, and the psychological journey of having a baby carried the book.
- It turned out to be a sort of parenting guidebook, and there was a lot of information in it that could help both members of a couple prepare, including a lot of details about In Vivo Fertilization, which I was pretty sketchy about. I like memoirs that teach.
- Postpartum depression is more than just the blues. I have a friend who is writing a fictional representation of her own postpartum mental breakdown. It’s serious. Another friend joked once that his mother thought he was the devil. Upon further discussion, it turned out not to be so funny. After he was born, she was hospitalized with postpartum psychosis. I wanted to learn more about what it feels like from inside the experience of a disordered mom.
- I think I saw her once, so that means we have karma. When she was attending Princeton University, I went out to a restaurant with friends. I didn’t want to gawk but my friends said it was definitely her a few tables away. (I saw Natalie Portman in a play once, so I’ll be on the lookout for her memoir, too.)
To read the full essay I wrote about Down Came the Rain, click here.
To read about another celebrity memoir worth reading, see: Joan Rivers’ Celebrity Memoir Offers More Lessons for Aspiring Writers