Book review

Amy Peppercorn: Living The Dream
John Brindley
Dolphin Paperbacks
/ Orion Children's Books

Amy Peppercorn: Living The DreamPop starlet 'Little Amy Peppercorn' has the world at her feet. She has a number one single while bitter rival Courtney Schaeffer languishes mid-chart. She's just received a royalty cheque for £10,000 and to top that she's just met one of her dancers, the exotic Jag Mistri. Enough to make any teenage girl green with envy. Right?
    Wrong. In writing this novel John Brindley incorporates not only the superficial life of a pop star - singing, dancing, photo shoots - but also the 'behind the scenes' rigours of stardom we never get to see; the endless tedium of dance routines, the isolation from friends and family and the soul oppressing big brother control of a record label.

So into this thorough and revealing portrait of the popular music industry, Brindley throws the complex, emotional character of Amy. Fame couldn't have come at a worse time for her or her bandmates - Geoff has been killed in a car crash and Ben is on remand for being behind the wheel of the stolen car. Best friend Beccs is growing increasingly distant and all Amy wants is to be herself.
    Unfortunately for Amy, the author creates the stereotypical but all too believable character Raymond Raymond - her manager - who will stop at nothing to mould and shape her mentally and physically in a ruthless bid to engineer her for the pop market.

Brindley has written a fluid, entertaining novel. The use of text messages and songs is quite an innovative and clever technique, but the autobiographical style he uses for Amy to relate her story works brilliantly in engaging the readership. Just read the first line: "I've never told anyone this before, but I'll tell you: I'd have hated not to go on with it."
    He succeeds in portraying not only the good side of pop stardom, but the seedy underside too. The book does have some faults though, most characters bar Amy are two dimensional and the end of the story is rather more a continuation of the series - a kind of mid story stop than an ending - but these imperfections don't hinder the story much, which does reads well.

So, as Amy delves deeper into the music industry and comes to terms with her new life she comes closer and closer to the truth . . . Just what kind of control is she under? Can she maintain her friends in her ever-spiralling career? Is Jag Mistri all he seems? I'll leave to you find this out yourselves, but what I will tell you is this: Absolutely anyone dreaming of pop stardom, should read this novel.

:: Jamie Larkin

Go to top of page
Latest articles

Alone in the dark: Buffy The Vampire Slayer bows out in style with the Season Seven DVD Collection.

Johnny Knoxville plays him in the movie Grand Theft Parsons, but counterculture speaks to the man himself: Phil Kaufman interviewed.