All that darkness makes the lighter moments particularly enjoyable. A post-Mottola dalliance plays out like a rose-tinted romcom, and though she skims over many career details, we're left in no doubt just how strong her joy of singing is (she delights in memories of performing alongside Aretha Franklin and other greats). She pokes fun at her own public caricature, too, regularly suffixing sentences with “dahling” and revelling in her self-confessed “extraness”. Her sly nod to the “I don’t know her” meme in a passage about Jennifer Lopez is delicious.
This is, ultimately, a high-spec survivor’s tale and if it occasionally becomes schmaltzy or self-serving — an eye-to-eye moment of understanding with Princess Diana across a crowded charity ball; recognition from the rapper Tupac Shakur — it’s balanced by surprising self-awareness and a willingness to show exactly where she came from. Writing about Dani Janssen, the host of famously star-studded Oscar parties, Carey writes: “I love a good broad, especially one who knows how to throw a good party.” There’s a strong sense throughout this book that the diva might fall under this category herself...
This not a perfect celebrity memoir; it doesn’t reach the dirt-dishing heights of Elton John’s Me, and there are a few repetitions (the argument for the critical reappraisal of Glitter is given twice) which could have been swapped for more nameless disses of Jennifer Lopez. But it is a magnificently enjoyable romp with one of the world’s greatest egos. With her extraordinary vocal range and 19 No 1 hits spread over four decades — as well as being the inventor of the bottom — Mariah Carey has earned all the self-regard she has.
But being an exhaustive autobiography isn’t the point of this book; rather, it’s a carefully pieced together self-portrait of one of this generation’s most fascinatingly idiosyncratic, frequently misunderstood artists from the ground up.