Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Appetite For Peas

Beyond the fact that we both can't stand peas, I don't have a lot in common with Casey B. Dolan. Despite this, I have just emerged from hours engrossed in her growing pains.

I was walking through a bookstore and stumbled across her book, a memoir called An Appetite for Peas. I was intrigued by the fact that Casey B. Dolan had written a book. The last time I had seen her name was when I was reading a random, "What ever happened to..." blog post on the interwebs. "What could she possible have to say?" I wondered.

I remember Casey as a bubbly Simunye presenter in the late 90s, with loads of hair and a mouth full of teeth. She was always smiling and had an infectious amount of positive energy. I was probably 10 or 11 years old at the time, and completely oblivious to the fact that she was somewhat of a national sex symbol and merely appreciated her talent as a television presenter and actress (really, I did).

Stumbling across some twitter buzz about the book, I decided to give it a go - and ordered it online. It sat on my bookshelf for a good few weeks before I finally decided to give it a bash... and when I did, boy was I surprised.

South African celebrities have caught on to the international trend of celebrity autobiographies. Unlike their international counterparts, local celebrities face the inevitable question - "why?" I have heard more than one critic ask why a local celebrity would write a book. I mean who really wants to read about them when there are real South African writers with informed points of view? From what I have gathered, Casey is quite okay with people asking the question - because the book speaks for itself.

An Appetite with Peas is not a celebrity autobiography. If you are expecting a tell-all tale of what it's like to be rich and famous, you'll be disappointed. This is not to say that Casey doesn't tell it all. She does. And if you're like me, at times her candid tale will even shock you.

I loved this book because it is extremely honest. Casey is beautiful, and she has many accolades. Opting not to talk about the obvious - the TV shows, awards and the fame, she focuses on her rocky upbringing, her difficult relationships with men and sex, and the journey she had to follow to become the presumably well-adjusted adult she is today.

Like Bonnie Henna I appreciated her ability to tell the truth. The glitz and glam of the local entertainment industry is incredibly overrated. Her story could be any young persons story. It's sad, it's funny, it's inspiring, it's got real heart and she is endearing. And the great part is that she can actually write.

As a twenty-something trying to figure out this whole adult thing I really liked it, and related to a lot of the tomfoolery that occurs when you are trying to figure out who you are, and where you fit and and why the world isn't paying attention.

It's an easy read, so if you want to be (pleasantly) surprised - give it a go. I am a huge believer in reading local books, and this one is worth your time.

Visit her website here to find out more about the book and where you can get it, and follow her on twitter @CaseyBDolan.