One chapter book reviews: Hooking up with Tila Tequila

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Perhaps more than ever in this reality show age we live in, it can be difficult to know what the hell famous people are even famous for -- and nobody, besides maybe Paris Hilton, exemplifies that "famous for being famous" phenomenon better than Tila Tequila. In her completely un-clamored-for memoir, Tequila's main mission seems to be to justify that fame; though the official subtitle is A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success and Being the Life of the Party, it might as well be I don't care what you think of me, but it really bugs me that that's what you think of me.

Well, that and a book-length vanity-stroke. Though generally in one chapter book reviews I select one random chapter and review them on that basis, in this case, I had to read two. That's because the chapter I randomly selected happened to be chapter 3, which is entitled "photos." Here's the whole text of that chapter:

What? Are you expecting me to get all defensive about the fact that I got my start (and made bank) in a bikini? Nah, I'm comfortable with who I am and the fact that plenty of people seem to think I look hot in the buff. This is jerk-off material, plain and simple. So go get some lotion, do what you have to do, and enjoy the next half hour of your life.

Gross. True to that promise, though, what follows is 31 full pages of photos of Tila Tequila.

Chapter four, entitled "Making It," is a little more substantial. In that chapter, as the title suggests, Tequila (with an assist from "co-author" -- meaning "person who did a series of interviews with Tequila and then wrote the book first-person from Tequila's perspective" -- Sarah Tomlinson) details how she got famous -- and it's actually kind of interesting. For example, did you know that she made her first batch of real money running a clothing line where she made all the clothes and filled all the orders herself? Or that she learned HTML so that she could build a website without anyone telling her how to do it? Me neither.

Probably the most interesting thing about the book, though, is that it ends up painting a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of Tequila, albeit in a way that Tequila clearly does not intend. For example:

Right away, there were Tila lovers. And Tila haters, too. But everyone, and I mean everyone, knew who I was. That's how I liked it then. And that's how I like it now. Love me or hate me, you can't ignore me. And I don't care what you say.

That's a point Tequila continually reinforces throughout -- that she doesn't give a shit what you think. But like so many people who insist that they don't care what you think to the point that they doth protest too much, Tequila is clearly a person who really, really cares what you think. It's what drove her to become famous ("I wanted to be an entertainer and be known and admired by millions of people"), it's what drove her to release this book ("I hated that people could be so totally wrong about me"), it's what compels her to justify actions nobody even accused her of, which she does by addressing this dubious advice to her audience:

You've got to be smart about it, ladies. None of this sucking dick for a dollar bullshit. If you're going to do it, I'm talking about sucking dick for a Bentley. Seriously. Know your worth and make sure you get paid. And, most importantly, never forget why you're doing it. For me, it was all about making my music happen.

As a guide to anything -- if that tacit endorsement of semi-prostitution can be taken as an example of the "advice" up for grabs here -- this book is terrible. Still, there's something heartwarming about it: By the end of the chapter, I came to kind of like Tila Tequila -- for her charm, for her bravado, for the odd dissonance between her jadedness and her naïveté, her confidence and her insecurity and because, most of all, and just like everyone else, she's just a weird, quirky, damaged human being, warts and all.

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