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This seems unlikely, however. The rules that govern celebrity autobiographies may not exist in exacting, user-manual detail--as they supposedly do for Harlequin romances--but they are generally observed. Why this is I don't know. It's possible that stars, tentative in their new roles as authors, simply look to previous books for an easy model to follow. It could also be that celebrity has become such a conventional, insular occupation these days that all celebrity lives--regardless of the spin a specific talent inheres them with--end up sounding the same. Or maybe it's just that fans simply demand the same story over and over and over.

In any case, most celebrity autobiographies, because of their similarity, are immediately forgettable: a chronological march through early ambition, the lonely perfection of one's art, professional success, boredom, crises of various sorts (infidelity, substance abuse, and self-doubt are the usual trinity), and then, as the final act, the resurrection of ambition and the first bloom of self-acceptance. It doesn't help that celebrity autobiography prose is most often of the plain, leaden, serviceable variety that springs from workaday journalism; when I finish reading these plodding compendiums of fact, I generally feel as though I've just watched someone try to fashion a cow out of leather jackets and hamburgers.

On rare occasions, however, a celebrity autobiography does suggest the unique qualities of its subject: two notable examples are Klaus Kinski's All I Need Is Love and Chuck Barris' Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.