“When they flashed up her name – Madonna – at the end of the song, I was sure it wouldn’t be the last time I saw this funky, self-assured woman”. So starts the biography charting the life and career of the crowned Queen of Pop – or ‘tribute’, as we might call it. As a celebration of the singer/actress/writer’s most prolific career, the layout is almost deceptively simple.
Each double-page is a slice of Madonna history; with two columns of text on the left and an appropriate – and occasionally rare – photograph on the right page, leafing through this volume is an easy task. Unlike most celebrity biographies, this hasn’t been written with a certain “angle” or agenda in mind, making it detached enough that you can dip in and out at will and whim.
As much as this light touch is suited to the casual reader and overtime worker, we wouldn’t recommend this for the reader who requires a deeper meat; simply descriptive, you won’t find as many of the emotional hooks that usually make biographies the draw they tend to be. You will find more facts than you will the thoughts and feelings behind each one of her professional and personal decisions; for a book about the ‘Material Girl’, you really will find more material than you will about the girl. This may explain why, as a book so easy to dip into, it’s not guaranteed to keep you turning the page. It may also explain why the photographs have been printed on every other page like an oversized picture book rather than in sections in the middle of the volume.
Like a GCSE study book, this is certainly recommended for the newcomer to Madonna. Each page is a veritable spring board to a bigger pool of information just a Google search away. If you happen to have a PhD in Madonnology, however, you’re likely to have heard everything before. You will pick up enough trivia to beat any member of the family in your next game of Trivial Pursuit as well as anything you didn’t realise you had forgotten about Madonna. Regardless of your Madonnology grade, you are guaranteed to find yourself fighting the urge to read it. Consider that your warning when you decide to take it with you to the office.
Our professional recommendation? This would be perfect for the Madonna fan currently between books, or else waiting for that author you like to finally publish that next instalment.