4 out of 4 stars
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Being a celebrity can have its benefits, such as wealth, power, and fame. Doesn't sound so bad, right? But what happens when the paparazzi invade your privacy, when the stalkers become aggressive and dangerous? Or when you simply express your true feelings, and you're judged harshly by society? Is this the price of fame? Does this affect the man behind the legend? Mimi Amaral highlighted the consequences of success in Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Shadow Side of Celebrity and Fame.
Inspired by Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious, the author unveils the shadowed framework of notoriety and takes us through the tumultuous world of entertainment. Firstly, I liked the composition of the book which expresses a panorama of celebrities' statements with psychological nuances. In a world where actors, musicians, or athletes are considered a mere figurine of the mass-media, this non-fictional work emphasizes the mental turmoil which they are going through. The desire to please fans seems to overpower their will to take care of their emotional well-being. In her book, Amaral features the vulnerability of famous people to cognitive distortions, such as stress, depression, or suicidal thoughts. She showed her eloquent ability to write by expressing her opinion, exposing real facts, and proposing a constructive solution.
Secondly, I was impressed by the concept of creating a unique division, Entertainment Psychology. The aim of this department would be to develop the psychological field and to offer mental health support to the artists during the creative process. According to the references at the end of the book, the author seems to have done some in-depth research. These refer to books on psychology regarding the behavior of stars and to some famous newspapers (People Magazine, The New York Times, The Guardian, etc.) This made me feel as if I was reading a thorough review of the entertainment industry. I even liked the book cover which symbolizes the disagreement between the glitz image and the shadowed self. The accent on the gloominess made me reflect on the thin thread that separates the world of glamour from the harsh effects it can have on the human psyche.
I believe this book could be beneficial for any person who wants to become the next Johnny Cash or Scarlett Johansson. Also, those who are overwhelmed by their success and feel that they don't fully "embrace their authentic self" might find the author's message uplifting - "you are not alone." But if the subject in question isn't of any interest then consider passing.
The book appears to be professionally edited. I only found minor grammar errors regarding the missing determiners and unnecessary commas. In some quotes, there were a few expletives (around two), which really didn't interfere in the informative read. I didn't find anything that displeased me in this work, and I'm pleased to rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Shadow Side of Celebrity and Fame
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