Literature and the memoir used to be something special. To write one, you had to live a full life of achievement with peaks and valleys and only then might your life be worthy of being written about. Today, not so much. For instance, British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill has penned four autobiographies. Celebrity airhead, Tori Spelling has "written" five. Socrates once said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." Tori Spelling has clearly not read this quote.
Maybe it's not fair to pick on Ms Spelling because she's hardly the first celebrity chuckle head to come out with a book. Celebs have been doing it since the 1950's. Who can forget Mary Pickford's "The Autobiography of Mark Pickford Sunshine and Shadow" and the dirt it dished about Douglas Fairbanks wearing woman's clothes?
Celebrity autobiographies are here to stay. If you need proof, check out the live comedy show, "Celebrity Autobiography" starring Fred Willard and a rotating group of celebrities who read and sometimes act out other celebs books. The show's hilarious and you truly haven't lived until you've heard Kristin Wiig read Suzanne Somer's poetry aloud, especially "Extra Love" where Ms Somers writes that if people have any extra love they shouldn't waste it on dogs.
To be a truly great celebrity autobiography you must meet at least one of the following criteria: you should be a person who has no business writing a book in the first place, have zero sense of self and, lastly, be the kind of person who doesn't really ever read books. The following list is comprised of giants who felt that they had to get their life stories out to us, the great unwashed. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it and even learn something new about the celebrities and maybe even yourself.
10 Dustin Diamond's "Behind the Bell" (2009)
You probably know Mr. Diamond as beloved doofus "Screech" from "Saved By The Bell." What you may not know is that he's one bitter bitch. He has nothing good to say about any of his former cast mates and that includes Mr. Belding. What was their collective offense? They all would sleep together but not with him. Dusty had to settle for sleeping with the extras. He seems to have his biggest problem with Mark-Paul Gosselaar who he nicknames "the Golden Child." You see everyone loved Mark-Paul and not Dustin. In Diamond's mind, it was weird that Mark-Paul didn't want to talk about his sexual exploits. What a dick.
Classiest Observation: Calling co-star, Tiffani Amber-Thiessen ""Saved By The Bell'"s set whore and Hollywood's pass-a-round girl."
9 Jimmie Walker "Dynomite!: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times-- A Memoir" (2012)
This one wins the "best strike 30 years after the iron is hot" award. You see, Jimmie was the star of a sit-com called "Good Times" which aired from 1974 to 1979 which was, indeed, a huge hit. After that things slowed down considerably with the odd movie or failed TV pilot but mostly he made his living doing stand-up comedy.
During a magical time, Jimmie had David Letterman, Jay Leno, Robert Schimmel and Richard Jenni writing for him. Personally, I can't think of four individuals more qualified to write about the black perspective then them. What's funny is that he told his writers explicitly not to write racial humor but almost every stray joke he puts in the book is all about race like: "Lots of new thangs coming out about black history. Found out there were black cavemen. They dug up a three-million-year-old Cadillac…two payments still due."
The best part is when he tells of his "Good Times" co-stars John Amos and Esther Rolle resenting him for being a joke machine and not a true thespian like them. Good times...
Best Revelation: David Letterman's a great guy and Jay Leno is small minded and petty.
8 Bristol Palin "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far" (2011)
Your mom is a failed vice-president candidate and you got pregnant while being an unmarried teenager. Why shouldn't you write a book or be a public advocate for abstinence? Bristol has perfected the art of claiming to take full responsibility for her actions while in the next few sentences saying it's not her fault. She's a regular chip off the old block. One thing you do have to admire about this book is its economy. There's no missed opportunities to take shots at the opposition. For instance, one night while she and former Governor Palin are watching "Dancing With the Stars," Mama Grizzly points out that more people watch that show then Keith Olbermann and Bristol points out that Keith seems to have disappeared and is more irrelevant then ever. Nice.
Favorite Tidbit: When Levi Johnston's sister, Sadie, threatened to beat up the very pregnant Bristol.
7 Anne Heche "Call Me Crazy" (2003)
There has never been a more apt name for an autobiography then Anne Heche's "Call Me Crazy." Believe it or not, she was once a successful actress before being overshadowed by being Ellen DeGeneres's girlfriend, marrying a dude and believing she was from a fourth dimension where her name was "Celestia" who spoke a special language only she understood.
Interesting Tidbit: Anne Heche used to party with Brooke Shields at Studio 54...and again, she thought she was a space alien.
6 Todd Bridges "Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted" (2010)
This is one dark, perhaps not surprisingly, tale of sitcom stardom, living the high life and drug addiction. After reading it you do want Todd to succeed. He did come from a highly dysfunctional family with a father who was jealous of his son's success but there were some good times like when Bridges describes being able to get into any club or girl he wanted to. Not so good is the time when Bridges publicist performed oral sex on him, confusing him because it felt good.
Fun Tidbit: When Dana Plato cleared up any sexual ambiguity that may have lingered in Bridge's mind by performing oral sex on him when they were young.
5 Mike Sorrentino "Here's the Situation" (2010)
Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino is the former star of "Jersey Shore" and the leading purveyor of a new kind of literary genre that I'm naming "Douche Lit." After reading through this tome, I'm still not sure if he's in on the joke or not. For his sake, I hope he is. He must be. How else can you explain that the first sentence of the first chapter reads, "By now the entire nation knows of my holy trinity of gym, tanning and laundry, aka GTL." I still don't understand why you have to do laundry everyday, but hey, he's the author.
Another indication that you're reading douche lit is when abdominal muscles have their own personality like when his abs dragged out an ugly chick "by her extensions and stomped her ass until one of her fake tits popped out." To those who don't understand comedy, what's funny is that a woman's being beaten.
Fun Fact: For a look into how the economic meltdown of 2008 was allowed to occur, keep in mind that Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino was a mortgage broker. "So, are youse going to buy this freakin' house or are my abs going to have to stomp the s**t out of you?"
4 Barbara Walters "Audition" (2009)
When a memoir starts with the sentence, "my sister was mentally retarded..." you know you're in for one wild, name dropping ride. It is amazing how this woman with a speech impediment who's most famous for dopey questions she's asked (to Katharine Hepburn, "What tree would you be?") became a major television journalist. Give her this, Ms Walter's childhood is interesting. Her father was a night club owner who alternated between boom and bust. When the Walter's family moved to Florida, Al Capone was a neighbor. I wonder if he was fun at block parties?
From there it's a series of adventures with famous men including Alan Greenspan, Frank Sinatra, Harry Reasoner, etc. She does seem to have a gift for saying rather weird things to powerful people like when she was interviewing President-elect Carter and pleaded with him to "Be wise with us, governor. Be good to us."
Fun Fact: Barbara Walters had an affair with married Senator Edward Brooke.
3 Linda Hogan "Wrestling the Hulk: My Life Against the Ropes" (2011)
Okay, so she's not a celebrity except in a reality show type way but she was married to one of the most famous men from the 1980's and it was one wild ride. Linda accuses the Hulkster of being on drugs (steroids and recreational) during much of their time together. She also accuses the Hulk of nearly choking her to death during an argument. What's great about this book is that it's almost the complete opposite of everything Hulk Hogan says in his book. I guess we'll have to wait until the kids write a book so that the full truth can finally come out.
Fun Tidbit: Linda (52) called off her engagement with boyfriend, Charlie Hill (23) after a lot of therapy.
2 Peter Criss "Makeup to Breakup" (2012)
Do you like Kiss? Peter Criss sure doesn't. No, that's not quite true. He likes the band but hates the people in it. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons constantly condescended him and Ace Frehley stabbed him in the back many times. Frehley sided with Simmons and Stanley in voting to kick Peter out of the band in 1981 and during the reunion in 1996, Criss found out that Frehley was making $50,000 per show compared to his $40,000. First of all, forty grand a show is a lot of money. Secondly, why would you get mad at Frehley for accepting more money? This is the kind of logic that has gotten Peter Criss to where he is today; playing in his basement in Wall Township, New Jersey.
Interesting Tidbit(s): Too many to count including that Ace Frehley was often so drugged out that during orgies he wouldn't differentiate between men and women. Paul Stanley took to stuffing his pants during the Aerosmith tour. Gene Simmons rarely showered...
1 Vanna White "Vanna Speaks" (1987)
Why is she number one? Because this is a person virtually no one cares enough about to warrant writing an autobiography. She has a job that you can teach a third grader to do. She beat out 200 other woman who auditioned when the late Merv Griffin picked her because he thought Vanna turned the letters better then anyone else. You also get health tips like how Vanna does sit-ups. Spoiler alert: it involves bending your knees, knitting your hands behind your head and pulling your torso until your elbows touch your knees. Repeat as necessary.
Special Bonus: Mr. Pat Sajak wrote the foreword and he calls Vanna "an inspiration." For what, women who know the alphabet?