Why We Love Celebrity Memoirs

Steve_MartinI think most people would agree that the appeal of memoirs lies in the worlds they take us to and the struggles of people who may or may not be like us. We want to see the world through someone else’s eyes and experience how they handle life.

Melissa_GilbertCheering for the underdog is something most of us like to do. We’re ordinary people who want others like ourselves to come out ahead, even if we’re stuck in our own ordinary lives. We also want to know that chasing dreams is not a waste of time, that achieving them is possible. If someone else can reach the top of the mountain, maybe we can, too.

Gavin_MacLeodIn the case of someone whose life is shattered by their choices, we look for the turning point, the signs leading up to the fall. Drawn to tragedy and moved by suffering, we sympathize or empathize — and perhaps learn from their mistakes.

But are we drawn to celebrity memoirs, especially those of actors,Rosie_Perez for the same reasons?

It could be that humans are simply curious, like cats chasing shadows in a box. Curiosity could account for some of this attraction, but it might be more than that.

Tina_TurnerAs an audience, we watch actors on the screen or stage interacting in the most intimate of ways, both physically and emotionally. We laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, feel for them in their suffering, as well as their joy. Our hearts pound when a character we care about steps into danger. Then we leave the theater with nubs for fingernails, and stuffed full of popcorn we can’t remember eating. Is it any wonder Roger_Moorewe feel something for these strangers who share their lives with us year after year? When we’re drawn to someone, don’t we naturally want to know more about them?

Regardless of the reasons why some kinds of memoirs are more popular than others, they give us a chance to experience life from a different perspective and end up enriching our own lives because of it — and that’s a good thing.

What do you think of my theory about why we love celebrity memoirs?


Live More, Fear Less: Living with a Purpose

I’m the kind of person who roots for the underdog. I like movies where the little guy comes out on top and books where the hero wins in the end.

The thing about underdogs and heroes is they DO something. They’re working towards a goal, often while trying to overcome a personal shortcoming along the way. Even if they give up at some point, they always end up getting back on track. Heroes and underdogs don’t always get what they start out wanting. They might have to shift focus to see what’s really important. And usually what’s really important is something or someone outside of their me-world or I-want way of living.

Another thing that heroes and underdogs have in common is facing their fears. And deciding at a particular moment that something is more important than fear. You can bet firefighters are afraid just about every time the alarm sends them out on a call. They have a purpose in life that is beyond themselves, and so they push through.

Not everyone knows what their purpose is. Some people know early on what they want to do with their life, but some of us are still searching. For me, my faith tells me I’m here in this world at this particular time in history for a reason. God has a plan for me and he knows what it is even if I don’t (yet).

When I start letting my “not knowing” get the best of me, I search out an underdog or hero story. Nick Vujicic is one such person who fits into both categories. Born without arms or legs in 1982, he tried to drown himself at 8-years-old and then fought depression for many years afterward because he didn’t know why God made him the way he is. Then Nick found purpose in his faith. For a truly inspiring story, I hope you’llcheck this out.

Who inspires you to live more and fear less?