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Cheryl Cole – My Story review

In the last 10 years Cheryl Cole has become one of the most-loved and best-known popstars in the UK. After finding success with Girls Aloud after winning her place in the group on reality show Popstars: The Rivals Cheryl has had a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows in both her professional and private life. After a particularly hectic and headline-grabbing few years, Cheryl has decided it’s time to set the record straight and get her version of events heard. My Story is Cheryl’s autobiography and has been released just in time for the Christmas market.

My Story finds Cheryl speaking candidly about her life and career to date. Previously she’s been ferociously private about her personal life but through this book she’s decided to open up and let people see what’s really happened in her life. Once Girls Aloud decided to take a break in 2009, Cheryl saw her celebrity rise as she entered her second year on The X Factor just as her marriage to footballer Ashley Cole finally broke down for good. During this time the media speculation was intense as Cheryl couldn’t escape the paparazzi wherever she went. Over the course of the book she goes into this time in detail talking about how she felt miserable, trapped and constantly monitored.

Over the course of the book Cheryl talks about her almost fatal battle with malaria, her ups-and-downs with ex-husband Ashley Cole as he was endlessly accused of cheating on her, and of course her music. We learn about Cheryl’s upbringing on a council estate in Newcastle where she seemed to attract one troubled boyfriend after another. She talks about her love of dancing and music sharing her experiences as a youngster before she applied for Popstars: The Rivals.

Once the book moves onto Popstars: The Rivals you start to learn more about what that experience was like for her and how she gelled with the other members of the group. She also explains what really happened the infamous night she was arrested for punching a toilet attendant. Many will be trawling through the book to find evidence of Cheryl not getting on with band-mate Nadine Coyle but there’s nothing like that here. She is surprisingly honest about not being as close with Nadine and Sarah Harding as she is Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts but there’s nothing scandalous. She expresses disappointment over some of Nadine’s decisions but that’s as far as any band rifts go.

For many readers the real meat of the book comes post-Girls Aloud as Cheryl explores her potential as a solo artist whilst dealing with the breakdown of her marriage. It’s engrossing to read about the battle with confidence she had whilst recording her solo material, particularly against the backdrop of her marriage troubles. Credit to Cheryl that she doesn’t rant and rave about the way Ashley treated her instead opting to recall the events very factually.

She seems to have a love/hate feeling towards The X Factor feeling grateful for everything it’s done for her but explaining how exhausting the backstage politics became. She speaks openly about her frustrations, but also admiration, with Simon Cowell. The X Factor USA debacle is talked about with Cheryl expressing both disappointment and relief for how the drama unfolded. The suggestion that Nicole Scherzinger pitched for her job and got it reinforces rumours at the time, something Nicole herself has denied.

Other points of interest include Cheryl’s recollections of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with band-mate Kimberley Walsh and a host of celebrities for Comic Relief and her friendship with Dancing With The Stars’ Derek Hough. Of the former she admits she didn’t really understand what she was letting herself in for whilst of the latter she doesn’t reveal all that much aside from how fond of Hough she is.

Cheryl Cole – My Story is a book that’s more candid than we expected and it’s a really good read. There’s a reason that Cheryl has become the nation’s sweetheart and the warmth we feel from her on TV is present here. People seem to forget that underneath it all Cheryl is a person just like the rest of us and this book serves as a reminder that celebrity does not solve all of your problems. My Story is a great gift for the festive season and is a must-read for any fan of Cheryl’s.

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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