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Mariah Carey Mening of Mariah Book Cover

Undie-Fined Book Club: The Meaning of Mariah Carey

It has been a while since I’ve done one of these. I know 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. However, I was completely shocked to realize that I hadn’t read a book all year! I know for a fact I purchased two, only for them to become decorations in my house. Anywho, for anyone that doesn’t know, I love to read and review books. At the end of this review, I will leave a note of my next book in case you would like to read along for my next one. Now, on to business! 

Long before Beyoncè had a Beyhive or Rihanna a Navy, we had Mariah Carey. Mariah Carey is hands down the blueprint for the modern female musician. With a record-breaking 19 number one Billboard songs, she’s a legend. The epitome of glamour and grace. Let’s not forget her 5-octave vocal range! She was one of the pioneers of blending R&B/Pop with Hip-hop/Rap. The public knows so much about her musical accomplishments, but very little about her personal life. The Meaning of Mariah Carey is her memoir. For the first time, she delves deep into her memories. We’re given a glimpse of the trials and tribulations that made her the person she is today. At surface level, Mariah is simply a diva to most. However, from page one of the book, we quickly learn that her early life was far from what she’s created for herself today.    

First and foremost, Mariah is a writer. Clocking in at 800 pages, The Meaning of Mariah Carey is one of the longest memoirs I’ve read. It was also one of the most entertaining. She describes her life with such vivid detail throughout the book. Mariah approached her memoir like a song. Meticulous and robust in nature. She would stop the story in parts and include the lyrics to songs she wrote during the time she described. This provided further insight into a lot of the songs we know and love. Mariah Carey is a pop star to the majority of the world. What gets lost among the media’s portrayal of her diva antics is her musicianship. We do not discuss how precise her ability to structure a song is. Not just vocally, but also in the writing. This book covers roughly 40 years of Mariah’s life, but it isn’t dense.

Mariah is also a shady lady, in the best way possible. We loved how Prince was always able to throw shade in such an eloquent, almost soft-spoken way (another writer, by the way). Mariah’s book felt a lot like that. She never mentions Jennifer Lopez by name, she doesn’t know her after all. Man, does she do a phenomenal job of describing a certain celebrity that Tommy Matolla used as an attempt to destroy her. She even threw a little bit of shade towards herself and her Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve mishap. Mariah is also so familiar with how she speaks to her audience. Words like “dahling” and “sweetie” are used frequently. She is glamorous, yet approachable. Mariah is the bourgeois relative that lets you play dress-up in her couture while she tells you stories about her travels to Capri and St. Tropez. What a life!  

The Meaning of Mariah Carey is a memoir for the fans. Her fanbase is the Lambs. She often refers to her relationship with them as a Lambily in the book. She discusses her tumultuous childhood, her abusive first marriage, the Glitter disaster, and so much more. Mariah stresses how her fans kept her going throughout all of it. She also explains her relationship with God. Sometimes with celebrities as big as Mariah Carey, we forget that they are actual people. She describes her relationship with God in such a genuine manner. Lastly, her book outlines the need for women to have kinship with other women. There were so many moments where women that were in higher places than her could’ve been jealous. Instead, they did everything in their power to help elevate her. From Brenda K Starr to Debbie Allen, the importance of women uplifting each other was showcased.     

I won’t spoil the book for anyone that hasn‘t read it yet. However, there is one part, in particular, I want to emphasize. Mariah recounted her now-infamous “breakdown” in the early 2000s. It was eerily similar to what ended up happening to Britney Spears a few years later. Pushed to the brink by the record label. No sleep or adequate nutrition. An impossible work schedule. Nobody to vouch for the artist as a person because everyone, even family, is on the payroll. One day they just snap or more accurately, they shut down. Unfortunately, instead of being given space to rest and recuperate, they were deemed mentally inept. Even worse in Britney’s case, they created an illusion that she could not function on her own without conservatorship. How close Mariah came to meeting that same fate was frightening to read. Especially at the hands of toxic family members.

I highly recommend The Meaning of Mariah Carey. It goes to show that you truly never know what people are going through. It is also necessary for more Black legends to tell their own stories while they still can. It’s so heartbreaking that we will never read Prince’s full autobiography. He started writing but unfortunately passed before he could complete it. Whitney and Michael Jackson left us before they could really share their stories with the world. There’s a saying that we need to give people their “flowers” while they’re still alive to smell them. Mariah’s book made me realize that there are so many others that need to be given this opportunity. There are messages in this book that I will take with me through life. The most important being to never allow someone, no matter who, to tell you who you are. Only you can tell your story.

Next Read: Nicole Byer: #VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini


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