When you read the title of this piece you probably assumed I was talking about Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, who burst onto the national scene when she joined the Republican ticket in the 2008 presidential race. Sarah’s led an interesting life that’s included a stint as a TV anchor, a political career as mayor, governor and Presidential candidate, 5 children and her own TLC reality show. Love her or hate her – that’s quite a life!
But that’s not the Palin we’re talking about. Nope the title of this piece refers to Todd and Sarah’s 20-year-old daughter, Bristol, Dancing With The Star contender and ‘teen activist’. Okay, are you scratching your head too?
Now granted Bristol is a pseudo-celebrity and at the moment reality stars are hot. I give you sample A – A Shore Thing by Jersey Shore mini-mouth, Snooki, and B, Danielle Staub’s The Naked Truth: The Real Story Behind The Real Housewife of New Jersey. I could go on and on. What is the common denominator among these books? How about the fact that they have very little to say?
A memoir is an autobiographical book, designed to tell the story of the writer’s entire life. Think Martin Luther King Jr. There was the Montgomery Bus boycott, letters from a Birmingham jail and so on. But Bristol Palin? Seriously she’s not even 21 yet. How is she going to fill 200 odd pages? If I had an opportunity to write a memoir at 21 you know what it would look like? Those little religious pamphlets that are like 8 pages long. What follows is what would be the first three pages.
“Tonight is homecoming. I have no date. Again. It sucks being tall and skinny with unruly hair and pimply skin.” The next page would say, “I had fish sticks and tater tots for lunch. I sat with Mary and Karen and we laughed when Susan came out of the bathroom with her skirt tucked inside her tights.” followed by this scintillating entry, “Mark looked at me in gym today. He’s soooo cute. Maybe he’ll ask me out. Maybe my dad can drive us. I’m going to ask him. No I should wait to see if Mark asks me out before I ask dad. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.”
Okay that’s obviously an exaggeration because I would never have ordered the fish sticks. But that’s pretty dang close, I kid you not. Here’s the thing; not only is Bristol Palin not even 21, she’s boring! Did you see her on Dancing with the Stars? I have seen whiskbrooms with more charm and charisma. That’s only partially her fault. How many almost 20-year-olds do you know who can hold your rapt attention? Think of her as a young, very young wine. She needs to be in the bottle a little while longer.
We talk a lot here about tough times, second acts and life lessons. Why? Because they’re interesting. No one wants to read a story where the protagonist never faces a single challenge and everything goes his or her way; I’m not spending $22.95 for that! I want to read about someone down to their last dime, eating sandwiches with wilted lettuce between slices of day old bread until they sell the patent they’ve spent the last decade working on for 30 million dollars. How did they survive? How did they keep going? Did they ever feel like giving up? And most importantly what lessons can you impart for me?
I’m fairly certain Bristol Palin won’t have any life lessons to share with me, so I’m gonna go ahead pass – until she’s lived a while longer and actually has something to say.
But what about you, will you buy Bristol’s book? Can you think of any lesson you could learn from Bristol Palin? And do you think memoirs in general are an endangered species?