Becoming Beyonce: The Untold Story

J. Randy Taraborrelli. Grand Central, $28.50 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4555-1672-8
Superstardom is a homespun family enterprise—with only minimal dysfunction—in this tepid biography of pop singer and actress Beyoncé Knowles. Taraborrelli (Michael Jackson) ascribes Beyoncé's success to her preternatural voice, musicality, and stage charisma, all obvious from age 11, as well as the single-minded efforts of her management team: first the amateur impresarios who recruited her for a tweens girl group, then her father, Mathew, who applied his salesman's chops and an inherent business cunning equal to any major-label exec's in order to build her career. Knowles herself seems rather square—controlled, tight-lipped, relentlessly focused on success and image—so the drama comes from shedding people who don't enhance her success, from a gauche boyfriend, Lyndall Locke, to the Destiny's Child group-mates who want more limelight. The book's magnetic center is Mathew, an ego-maniacal control freak and womanizer who's also a promotional genius, but sister Solange provides a jolt with her famous elevator assault on Beyonce's husband, Jay-Z. Taraborrelli did not interview Knowles and too-often substitutes generic gushing for insight: "She'd quietly gone about… separating the parts of her life that felt true and organic from those that felt false and pretentious, and then moved forward committed to personal honesty and integrity." But he paints a revealing picture of the entertainment industry's debt to middle-class strivers. Photos. (Oct. 27)
Reviewed on: 11/02/2015
Release date: 10/27/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-5988-5
Hardcover - 978-1-4789-5989-2
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4555-9034-6
Book - 978-1-4789-0826-5
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-1-4555-1671-1
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