Lily Allen’s first book delves into the life of one of Britain’s biggest pop stars, as the singer-songwriter bears all to get her thoughts across on her own terms
Lily Allen has been a staple of British pop music ever since her debut single Smile topped the charts back in 2006. Since then, she has racked up four top ten albums in the UK and has become known for her honest and opinionated lyrics. It’s therefore unsurprising that Allen’s first book, a memoir about her life so far, took that same approach and is her most personal piece of work to date.
Throughout My Thoughts Exactly, Allen deconstructs her experiences with fame and the music industry, as well as the toll they took on her over the last two decades. She provides insightful commentary of the highs and lows of celebrity culture which could easily be the focus of an entirely separate book, as her honesty in doing so is typically unheard of by those in her position and is particularly refreshing. One of the book’s most interesting themes is the misogyny in the music industry, which Allen was often calling out long before other stars like her were (see her 2009 song The Fear, for example).
For those familiar with Allen’s music, some of the book’s most enjoyable parts are those which detail the creation of her first four albums and the inspiration behind each of them. In fact, these parts of My Thoughts Exactly are so good that it’s a shame there aren’t more of them, especially in the context of her second album, It’s Not Me, It’s You. Despite this, whether you’re a fan of her or not, Allen makes it impossible to not respect the music she’s created as her memoir provides the relatable context behind it all.
My Thoughts Exactly serves as a reminder that beneath the headlines and paparazzi photos, Allen is a real person who has endured more than most. The singer-songwriter doesn’t hold back in explaining the tumultuous turns her life has taken, as she openly discusses her struggles with addiction, the breakdown of her marriage and the devastating death of her child. The vulnerability Allen presents in her recollection of her life so far feels both cathartic and empowering, as she appears to bravely confront her past and acknowledges both her successes and failures along the way.
With songs like The Fear, Fuck You and Hard Out Here under her belt, it’s hard to believe that Allen may have struggled to find her voice over the years. But, perhaps the most rewarding part of My Thoughts Exactly is the journey Allen takes you on as she truly finds it for once and for all. For anyone that’s been a fan of Allen’s music since the beginning of her career, this book is a must-read and will only make you appreciate her more.
My Thoughts Exactly is available now at Waterstones for £8.99.
My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen serves as a cautionary tale of fame, success and heartbreakTweet @conorclark
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