I’ve only ever reviewed one other non-fiction title here on this blog. Mainly because I’ve only read one non-fiction book while this blog was alive. That review was for Lauren Graham’s biography, so it’s no surprise that today’s nonfiction review is for another one of my favourite people – Miss Maddie Ziegler. I have been mildly obsessed with Dance Moms ever since my sister introduced me in 2014, but Maddie was my instant favourite. Plus, I owe her a lot as she introduced me to my favourite artist – Sia. When I heard Maddie had written a memoir, I must say I was sceptical, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give it a go.
I suppose the best way to sum up what I felt about this book is to say that throughout I had this ‘feeling’. I don’t really know how to describe it, except to say that it read, to me, like a book she thought she had to write. It didn’t feel authentic, it didn’t feel like something she herself was dying to tell the world, but rather something she thought her fans would like, a method of furthering her brand, if you will. This made me really sad, because I was so hoping that this would be a way to get to know the real Maddie, without all the drama that reality TV requires.
This feeling was heightened by the overwhelming impression that I was reading some sort of CV. Partly due to the fact that it tracked her career, and talked about all the different award ceremonies she’s been to and famous people she’s met, but also because of the ‘Memories of Maddie’ sections, included at the end of each chapter. These sections were scarcely similar to the sort of messages people left me in my Secondary School leavers book (a book that’s nice to have, but doesn’t really show a true reflection of my relationships with those people).
Although this next point should really be expected, I think it’s something that prospective readers should be aware of. This book feels like it was written by a 14-year-old. Granted, Maddie’s a 14-year-old who’s done a lot in her young life but nonetheless, she is still a 14-year-old girl. There are countless points throughout the book (particularly in the advice sections at the end of each chapter) that felt very immature, and might not be to every reader’s taste. However, I personally don’t think it’s an issue, and actually found it to be one of the most authentic elements of this book.
Overall, I gave this 3/5 stars. I may be going a little easy in it because I adore Maddie, and because she’s still so young. Although there were many moments and aspects I really enjoyed in this book, it ultimately felt very superficial. I really wanted to learn more about Maddie, rather than just hearing about her very impressive CV and makeup tips.
If you’re a huge Maddie Ziegler fan, like myself, you’re probably going to end up reading this – and I don’t blame you. However, if you’re on the fence, I wouldn’t rush into anything.
Let me know what you guys thought of this novel down below! Are there any other Ziegler fans out there?