Title: Harry Styles: The Unauthorised Biography
Author: Alice Montgomery
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Publication Date: 1st Feb 2013
Amazon Summary: Find out all about Harry Styles – the sexiest member of the hottest boy band on the planet – in this fully up-to-date biography by Alice Montgomery.
When Harry Styles auditioned for the X-Factor, little did he know he’d soon be leaving behind school, his Saturday bakery job, obscurity and an ordinary life. One Direction made it to the final and won a record deal, and it wasn’t long before Harry’s face covered bedroom walls up and down the country.
But how did Harry cope with his new-found fame? And what happens when you take America by storm in a ‘British Invasion’?
With gorgeous green eyes and curls that send girls wild, Harry has found himself surrounded by beautiful women. But what’s the truth behind the rumours? Here, his relationships with Caroline Flack, Taylor Swift and the married Lucy Horobin are laid bare.
This book is a biography of Harry Styles, deemed to be ‘the most popular’ member of UK boy band One Direction. The book is split into chapters about different aspects of Harry Styles’ life/career but it’s not really chronological. It follows the timeline of Harry’s life very loosely and the chapters do jump around a bit and repeat information from previous chapters.
The first chapter is about Harry’s relationship with Caroline flack and after reading it, the little respect I had left for Harry Styles had been completely depleted. I thought the age gap between himself and Caroline Flack was weird, but it only just hit me that he was only seventeen. Seventeen. I, myself, am seventeen and I can’t for the life of me imagine dating a thirty-two year old.
The book then moves on to talk about One Direction’s time on the X factor and as I watched the show myself it didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know and also it wasn’t focused on Harry at all but rather the band as a whole, the show and the judges. There were some snippets about how Harry and the band coped with the show that I didn’t know about but there was nothing majorly exciting there.
The next chapters were about Harry’s childhood, One Direction’s rise to fame in the UK, their breaking of the USA, more about Harry’s relationships, more about One Direction as a band, the huge success that they’ve had, Harry’s relationship with Taylor Swift and where One Direction and Harry Styles are headed now.
When One Direction first debuted as a band on the X Factor several years ago, I have to admit, I was completely smitten. I was a Directioner through and through, despite the fact that their voices really weren’t that great. I found this book particularly interesting to read because I’ve been following One Direction’s story right from the very beginning and I’ve either been to or heard a lot about some of the events that were discussed in this book. Despite that, there were still loads of details about their rise to fame that I didn’t know about and the fact that this book isn’t solely focused on Harry Styles is a good thing because as 1/5 of One Direction, you can’t possibly just focus in on him.
Having finished this book, I logged onto Goodreads to have a look at what other people had written about it and some people have give this book absolutely awful ratings which I disagree with. For the most part, those reviewers are basing their ratings on their opinion of Harry Styles and not their opinion of the book itself and it is important to distinguish between the two. I wasn’t a very big fan of Harry Styles prior to reading his biography, and I’m actually even less of a fan of him now, however, the book itself wasn’t all that bad. It covers the key points in both Harry Styles and One Direction’s life/career as well as adding in extra details that most of the public aren’t aware of. It discusses all of his most controversial moments since his rise to popularity but digs a little deeper than the online sources so even if you’re a massive 1D fan you’ll still probably learn something new from reading this.
This book is largely unbiased though I would say that there is a slightly pro-Harry tone underlying her words. A lot of the things that Harry Styles has done are not things to be proud of and yet I didn’t get the feeling that Alice Montgomery thought that Harry jumping from cougar to cougar was a bad thing. Nevertheless, this is was a very informative read and I learnt quite a lot about the background to One Direction and Harry Styles himself.
A lot of the issues discussed are very controversial or caused a lot of media attention but the writing is quite good in that it isn’t too judgmental and the facts are presented in a fairly unbiased way. Some of the facts used don’t portray Harry in a good light but I’d say that the majority of the quotes used are in Harry’s defence. This would tend to indicate that the author was biased; however, both sides of every argument are explored.
There are also two sections of pictures contained in this book though I don’t think really adds much to it. These photos can all be found online and aren’t really anything special. A few of them pertain to the scandals discussed but the majority of them are just random shots of Harry and the band looking cool or having fun. Fans of Harry Styles will no doubt lap these sections up but they don’t really serve much of a purpose.
One particular thing that really bothered me about this book was that Alice Montgomery said about Harry Styles’ relationship with Taylor Swift. I quote: “She was almost as famous as Harry, and together the two of then were going to become one of the most high-profile couples in the world of entertainment”. I’m sorry, but in what world is Harry Styles more famous than Taylor Swift? Personally I think that this is a gross overstatement and that whilst One Direction, as a band, may currently be catching up to Taylor Swift’s level of popularity or are possibly even on a level with her, Harry Styles, as an individual, is definitely not more famous that Taylor Swift.
Another thing the author said was that Harry’s fascination with older women stemmed from his parents divorce (when he was just 7) and his need to be ‘mothered’. This is quite an assumption, and not really based on any facts. Given that the author isn’t a psychiatrist I didn’t really think that she had any right to include a judgement such as that without any real evidence.
Although I was initially very taken with this band, over time my infatuation for them has dwindled, despite their rising popularity. I still love their music, but I don’t think that One Direction are particularly great role models which is worrying given that their main market consists of very impressionable teenage girls. After reading Harry Style’s biography I have to say that my opinion of him has only dropped. From all that I’ve read in the tabloids and in this book, he is a massive player who goes for women who are, in my opinion, far too old for him.
People are constantly saying that the One Direction boys have stayed true to themselves and haven’t been absorbed by celeb culture which is why they are so likeable, and whilst that may be true, you can’t deny that Harry seems to have taken fame in his stride moving from celeb girl to celeb girl. Despite the fact that my estimation of Harry has dropped, I have a much more positive opinion of One Direction as a music group as they have achieved a phenomenal amount of success in very little time which a lot of people don’t appreciate.
All in all, I would recommend this book for any 1D or Harry Styles fans. You will no doubt find lots of juicy facts in here that will fuel your obsessions ever further. This book will also prove to be an informative and interesting read for those that perhaps aren’t massive fans of One Direction, but are simply interested in finding out more about the band that has been dubbed as the next Beatles and the boy that is said to be following Mick Jagger’s footsteps.
Random facts: Harry has four nipples and a fear of goats