September 16, 2003
English Rose Madonna has written a children's book

Madonna has written a children's book, called The English Roses. Yesterday's Times T2 Magazine had some quite complimentary reactions from various celebrity mums. (There is now a link for this, but links to timesonline are often a problem after a few days for non-UK people, so just take my word for this.) Their children liked the book very much, even though (because?) a lot of them have now never heard of Madonna.

From the sound of the various reactions, the story is a re-hash of the poor little rich girl story, only this time it's a poor little beautiful girl. Beauty is now wealth, I guess. And the moral is, don't be nasty to poor little beautiful girls.

Written from the heart, I think we can say. (Don't write mean reviews saying that some poor little beautiful girl is utter garbage in her latest movie, just because she is utter garbage …?)

But isn't that what good art does, whether "popular" or high. It takes real experience and rejigs it and universalises it. The idea that you can just slosh out "popular" art with one hand, emotionally speaking tied behind your back, is very, very wrong. You have to mean it.

This could obviously be a culture posting, but I have the feeling that all culture vultures who care already know about this Madonna book, while there may be educationalistical readers (all complaints about academic standards but no interest in the Zeitgeist) who missed this event completely. And a children's book that children like a lot is an educational as well as a cultural event.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:46 PM
Category: Books