Book Review: Fame Junkies

Cover art for the hardcover edition of 'Fame Junkies'The non-fiction book Fame Junkies was written by Jake Halpern and published by Houghton Mifflin Company in the latter part of 2006. For the entire duration of the book the author focuses upon the fascination that Americans have with celebrity fame.

Yes, it’s true. Americans are addicted to fame and to the world of Hollywood celebrities. With the popularity of reality shows such as So, You Think You Can Dance? and American Idol it is only a thin veil that hides the infatuation for our desire to obtain our fifteen minutes. Also, I shouldn’t forget about the slew of tabloid papers and magazines that are floating around the country. If you were to walk up to the checkout counter at the grocery store and take a look at the magazine rack I would no for a fact that a large number of the publications that are within plain eye view are magazine covers that are plastered with photos of celebrities. Personally the only time I can immediately remember seeing a collection of newspapers that were in plain view of the cash register was when I make my morning stop at 7-11 for my cup of coffee. The newspaper racks are locating between the cash register and the front door. But they are not conveniently placed right in front of my face as I’m standing in front of the cashier handing him my money for the coffee. Between him and I lies a magazine rack filled with such titles as Maxim Magazine, Us Weekly, People, and several other pop culture periodicals. It appears to be a subliminal message that says it would be my last chance to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip before I walk out the door and return to my car. How quaint is that?

The hardcover copy of Fame Junkies runs about 250 pages, and I enjoyed reading every page of it. Despite it’s short length the entire book is filled with information including interviews with several personal assistants for the celebrities, child actors wanting to break in to the business, retired film and television actors, several sociologists and psychologists who’ve studied this topic, and plenty of celebrity fans. It was interesting to read a summary of the findings from the sociological and psychological studies that focused on the type of people who are susceptible to being entranced by the light of celebrity fame. In a nutshell some of the findings point to people who are lonely or were subjected to an abnormal childhood. The interviews with the personal assistants and some of the fans are perfect real world examples that seem to reinforce the research findings pretty well.

The book was a quick read, and usually I’m a slow reader. It was an entertaining book to read, because it’s a relevant issue. More Americans are currently interested in pop culture and celebrity news than about actual hard news such as politics and world events. Isn’t that crazy? This book covers the topic pretty well, and I would recommend it to anyone.