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Overexposed: The Price of Fame: 04/23/09

I am not a fan of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie or Miley Cyrus. Even with young children I have never seen an episode of Hannah Montana and we don't plan on seeing the film. I've never read a tabloid. I come to Overexposed: The Price of Fame not as a rabid fan but as a curious outsider.

Overexposed is part biography, part history and part psychology. The book is mostly the biographies of Spears, Lohan, Hilton, Richie and Cyrus. The information contained in the biographical sections isn't anything new beyond what even a disinterested bystander like me will have already picked up from local news stories. The history part covers the rise of the modern tabloid from the transformation of the National Enquirer from a racing sheet to celebrity gossip paper and how the industry grew up around this new found public demand for gossip. Finally the psychology section tries to look at the causes of celebrity and the effects of fame on celebrities. Unfortunately these sections are done as interviews with TV personalities such as Dr. Phil. Regardless of his background, his participation in cheesy tabloidesque television lessens the credibility of his opinions in this book.

The "overexposure" of the five celebrities highlighted in this book is nothing new. The silent film stars went through the same overexposure as have headliners in every decade between then and now. I would hazard a guess that entertainers have been paying the price of fame throughout history. A more in depth look at the history of celebrity scandals to put the five highlighted ones into context would have made Overexposed something special. As it is there isn't enough substance to get a good sense of what "the price of fame" is.

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