Celebrity memoirs exist to give readers insight into a famous figure’s personality and life story. If there’s some juicy tidbits of gossip, funny anecdotes, or harrowing truths about the celebs in question, even better. Keep in mind not every celebrity autobiography has been written by veterans of sports or show business. Due to a general lack of experience, memoirs written by famous youngsters have mixed results at best. Here are 15 of the worst, best, and weirdest autobiographies written by celebrities 30 and under.
In 2005, Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) wrote the memoir From Pieces To Weight: Once Upon A Time in Southside Queens. Written by Jackson with the help of hip-hop biographer Kris Ex, the autobiography detailed the rapper’s rise from crack dealing street hustler to reformed ex-con to rap mogul multimillionare. Though the novel would gain solid reviews for telling 50’s story in a crime fiction style, many would label its release as a bit premature. Jackson was only 30 years old at the time of writing the book, which was published shortly before he committed the historical-fiction version of his life story, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, to film. Given its timing, the bio can be seen as something of a cash-in by a relatively young rapper, albeit one that at least has a sense of storytelling and gravitas.
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In 2000, Britney Spears collaborated with her mother, Lynne, on the memoir Britney Spears’ Heart To Heart. The book told the story of Spears’ evolution from a child contestant on Louisiana talent shows to multi-millionaire singer (with the help and support of Lynne, of course). Britney was merely 18 years old at the time of the book’s publication and was just beginning her Oops… I Did It Again tour. As such Heart To Heart has been construed as an idealized puff piece that only existed to further the Britney Spears media empire.
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At the age of 28, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson authored his memoir The Rock Says… Co-written by celebrity non-fiction ghost writer Joe Layden, The Rock’s autobiography chronicled his experiences growing up in a wrestling family, his college football career, and his ascent from the WWE into the ranks of Hollywood. Unfortunately, the memoir was written merely four years into his WWE career, causing many wrestling fans to criticize its lack of insight into the behind-the-scenes world of wrestling. It has garnered some particularly harsh reviews considering its publication followed the critically acclaimed memoir of Johnson’s WWE peer, Mick Foley. While Foley has gone onto a career as a best-selling writer, The Rock continues to split his time as a Hollywood and WWE star. Based on The Rock Says… perhaps that’s for the best?
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Merely two years after their breakout success, Destiny’s Child collectively authored their life story, Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography of Destiny’s Child was published when singers Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, and Beyonce Knowles were barely of legal drinking age. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t stop Soul Survivors from becoming a success with fans. While the contributions of all three lent to a varied set of voices, many hardcore D.C. fans would criticize the book as a series self-aggrandizing anecdotes. The three-way perspective of the book would also be undermined by a lack of input from former D.C. members LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett and Farrah Franklin. With these flaws in mind, the bio can hardly be construed as serious literary fodder for audiophiles.
Justin Bieber’s First Step 2 Forever pushes the boundaries of a young person’s autobiography. Not because it’s considered a quality read, but because the pop star was only 16 when he wrote it. The singer squeezed 240 pages of his life story, interests, Tweets, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes into First Step 2 Forever. The resulting tomb was an instant best seller without interest to anyone besides Bieber’s ardent fan base. While Bieber should be given points for ambition, it’s likely his literary success was a First Step 2 Soon.
Miley Cyrus wrote her first memoir at the age of 17. Miles To Go, co-written by Hilary Liftin, delves into Cyrus’ first 16 years on this earth. It covers everything from her childhood through the Hananh Montana/pop star years (which could also technically still be called her childhood). The usual accusations of fluff and filler were labeled upon the book, but Miles To Go would enjoy enough success to ensure it be updated six times since the first publication. All criticisms aside, at least the gal is keeping the memoir current.
Before Miley and Bieber got their shot a premature autobiographies, Vanilla Ice paved the way with his own memoir in 1991. Written when Ice was just 24 years old, Ice On Ice told a familiar street-thug-to-rapper story. Sort of like 50 Cent’s but, you know, not as good. Ice later claimed the book was ghost written by his former manager to give him more street cred. With this in mind you can bet that the contents of book are mostly fabricated. Though we’re sorry to disappoint the rapper’s legion of ardent fans, Ice On Ice stands as a higher achievement in storytelling than the movie vehicle that followed (the classic Cool As Ice). That’s not high praise, making the novelty book a definite zero for the would-be hip-hop hero.
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Tim Tebow had his autobiography, Through My Eyes, published at the age of 23. Co-written by sports writer Nathan Whitaker, the book stands out from the majority on this list by being both a memoir and a Christian-themed inspirational book (though credit where it’s due, Miley Cyrus did dabble with Bible quotes in her book). The memoir’s emphasis on Tebow’s football career pleased most fans, but those looking for insights on his personal life (outside of religion) were left sorely disappointed. We can easily recommend Through My Eyes to Christian Youth Groups and die-hard Tebow fans, but everyone else may want to just thumb through it the next time they’re stuck in line at Costco.
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Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose is Paris Hilton’s first and, to date, only stab at non-fiction. Written with the help of Merle Ginsburg when Hilton was just 23, the book was marketed like a bio. In reality it turned out to be nothing more than a semi-scrap book of Hilton’s life peppered with occasional words of wisdom (and we use that term lightly) on how to be a successful socialite. Though skewered by critics (and many fans), the book went on to become a New York Times Best Seller.
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Macaulay Culkin wrote Junior in 2007. He was 27 at the time and, unlike the majority on this list, wrote the book without a co-writer or ghost writer. Though the book is part memoir, its genre is questionable at best. Culkin uses lists, quizzes, journal entries, and other unconventional narrative techniques to tell his tale, creating a book that’s somewhere between an autobiography and experimental fiction. That, of course, didn’t stop the publisher from marketing it as the former, rather than the latter. For the sake of style alone adventurous readers may want to give Junior the once-over.
Model, entrepreneur, and reality television star Tila Tequila had Hooking Up with Tila Tequila: A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success, and Being the Life of the Party published in 2008. The book was co-written by a 26-year-old Tequila (with ghost writer Sarah Tomlinson) and took a page from the Paris Hilton playbook. Hooking Up hybridized Tequila’s memoirs with a self-help guide to sex and partying. While it delivers its share of scintillating advice, many fans have criticized Hooking Up (and its author) as being shallow and juvenile at best. We highly recommend the book to anyone who still uses MySpace, but for everyone else Hooking Up is likely now irrelevant.
The most recent book of this bunch is Tom Daley: My Story. The 18-year-old, UK-based Olympic gold medalist swimmer saw his memoir published last December. Though marketed as an autobiography, Daley’s inspirational story would come under fire for its lack of personal details and emphasis on the technical aspects of swimming and training. If you’re really into the sport or the swimmer, it’s likely a must read. Casual fans and followers may just want to to stick to his Twitter feed instead.
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Vanna White had her autobiography, Vanna Speaks!, published in 1987. She was 30 at the time and five years into her game show hostess tenure. The book chronicles Vanna’s rise from small-town cheerleader to letter turning Wheel of Fortune personality. When a book’s synopsis promises to recall “fortunes won and lost on the spin of the wheel,” do we really need to describe its contents and reception in detail? It’s safe to say the book was intended for the most diehard of Wheel fans, who likely bought their copy, read it, and donated it to their local Goodwill by the time the 90s hit.
It would be easy to dismiss Drew Barrymore’s memoir, Little Girl Lost, as the prattling of an over-exposed teen media sensation (think Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber for the 1980s). Unfortunately, by the time she had written her autobiography, Drew Barrymore had perhaps lived a bit too much life. The actress who had captured America’s hearts as little girl in E.T. developed a coke addiction by the age of 12. Following a rehab attempt, Barrymore would attempt suicide at the age of 14. Co-written by Todd Gold, Little Girl Lost remains among the ultimate tell-all memoirs, exposing the lurid lifestyle child stardom yield. Given the actress’ cleaned-up, mid-1990s career reinvention, Little Girl Lost is also a tale with an inspirational, off-page denouement.
Kelly and Jack Osbourne
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Both Osbourne children have written memoirs at very a young age. While Jack brought us 21 Years Gone: The Autobiography in 2009, Kelly has updated her own memoir Fierce since its original publication the same year. Both books delve into being born into celebrity and teenage battles with addiction. In terms of critical comparisons, Jack’s book seems to have gotten better reviews than his sister’s, though both seem to cover the same inspirational territories and veer toward teen readers. While Drew Barrymore may have them beat in terms of teen addiction tales, the memoirs have their share of inspirational juice. However, considering the Osbourne lineage, both tombs pale in comparison to their father’s I Am Ozzy, which details everything from drug abuse and rock stardom to more drug abuse and biting the head off of a bat onstage. That’s what you call a celebrity autobiography.