cover image Fame: The Hijacking of Reality

Fame: The Hijacking of Reality

Justine Bateman. Akashic, $26.95 (220p) ISBN 978-1-61775-660-3

Producer and actress Bateman delivers a blisteringly honest analysis of fame and her years in and out of the spotlight. Perhaps best known for her performance as Mallory in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties, Bateman uses that period as a springboard to describe the darker sides of fame—stalkers ( a man once followed her from L.A. to Berkeley where she was performing in a play, calling out her name from a car), duplicitous reporters, and, later, being trolled on the internet. She bemoans the ways reality TV and social media have changed what it means to be famous. “Prior to the 1990s,” she writes, “there was no frenzy to be famous... but around 2006, then everybody could join in and have a semblance of fame.” She also shares her own experiences of fame, both at the height of her popularity and after it faded. “Your obituary... will still list that pinnacle of ‘accomplishment,’ ” she writes, “to the exclusion of almost everything else you have done in your life.” For Bateman, her personal achievements include becoming a writer and producer, getting a pilot’s license, and entering UCLA as a computer science major in 2016. Bateman’s impassioned narrative points out to those who relentlessly seek fame that rather than a blessing, it can be a curse. Agent: Anthony Arnove, Roam Agency. (Oct.)