PERFORMING ARTS

The Meaning of Mariah Carey

Andy Cohen: Holt. Sept. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781250164681. $29.99. MUSIC
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Carey’s heartbreaking but down-to-earth and often humorous memoir begins with a childhood filled with neglect, emotional abuse, and poverty. The daughter of a Black man and an Irish American woman, Carey often felt like she didn’t fit in, and was the frequent target of racism. Early on, she turned to music and humor, and her drive to succeed eventually led to her becoming the best-selling music artist of the 1990s. Along the way, she endured an abusive marriage to Sony Music head Tommy Mottola, a headline-making “meltdown,” and constant battles with family members, who needed money but were unable to provide support or stability. Carey’s obsession with Marilyn Monroe plays an ongoing role in her life story, and she draws parallels between herself and the actress; both faced unhappy childhoods and tumultuous relationships and were victims of their industries. Yet Carey’s ability to overcome inspires. The stories behind her lyrics will undoubtedly create a new appreciation for her work, and readers will enjoy glimpses into the music industry that few have experienced firsthand.
VERDICT A must-read for Carey’s fans, though music lovers of all genres will also delight in this personal story.

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