'Parasitic' biography of Lorde too soon, too trite

MICHELLE DUFF
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2014
Lorde
Instagram/lordemusic

TOO SOON? At 17, Lorde has already had her life story detailed in this unauthorised biography.

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A new "parasitic" biography of Lorde written by a New York Times bestselling author calls Devonport the "hub of New Zealand's military might" and concocts a midlife crisis for song-writing partner Joel Little.

While John Key had to wait until he'd headed global foreign exchanges, amassed a fortune, become prime minister and turned 52 before being the subject of a biography released last week, Lorde has cracked it at 17.

The American author, who does not appear to have been to New Zealand or spoken to Lorde directly for his unauthorised biography, has meticulously googled every facet of Lorde's life for book Lorde: Your Heroine, detailing how the young feminist broke all the rules and succeeded.

Marc Shapiro has previously written best-selling celebrity "biographies"and books about Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, J K Rowling, Lindsay Lohan and Katie Holmes. Lorde is his second Kiwi biography after Lucy Lawless fell victim to 1998's Lucy Lawless: Warrior Princess!

His book, currently listed on Amazon, GoodReads and several other sites, is due for release in New Zealand and Australia in August.

The book, nothing more than a rewriting of local and international media reports, refers to Devonport as the "hub of New Zealand's military might", presumably because Shapiro hasn't enjoyed a visit to the sleepy seaside suburb or even heard of Palmerston North's Linton Army Camp.

In a press release, Shapiro says: "The intriguing thing about writing about Lorde is that she is so damned contrary to everything that pop music has become...she's smart, creative, a true individual and only 17. Stories that are too good to be true but that ultimately are just that makes a biography of Lorde truly something special."

Auckland University distinguished professor of English literature Brian Boyd said the biography was "parasitic".

"It seems not just parasitic, but doubly so, on a young life and on people who have actually interviewed her. The worst kind of biographies are those that are all Chinese whispers."

People who were the subject of biographies were usually outstanding, and had broken boundaries in different ways, Boyd said.

"If you were writing an actual biography, you'd usually wait until a bit later in life. I imagine if this guy had been around he would have written Mozart's biography at 9-years-old."

GoodReads reviews were middling. "Not one I could recommend......the author is impressed that she's smart" and "there's probably nothing here that will really hurt anyone, it's just vapid."

Lorde's management did not respond to questions about the book.

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- Sunday Star Times

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