With a career spanning from the late ’60s onward, it’s hard to think of another person who has seen as much success as the one and only Cher. She acts, she sings, she inspires thousands of drag queens daily, all while looking hot as fire in body-baring leotards. Girlfriend has nailed it at life, and with all that she’s done, she needs books upon books written about her for the rest of us peons to keep up. In the latest, Cher: All I Really Wanna Do, authors Daryl Easlea and Eddie Fiegel fawn over the greatness that is Cher.
Delving into her entire lifespan thus far, Fiegel and Easlea casually glide across the surface of Ms. Cherilyn Sarkisian’s humble beginnings with anecdotes about her barely-there father and her mother’s troubled marriages. While the reader does get a decent idea of the story behind the “half-breed” beauty, the book seemingly skips right into the Sonny Bono years—a figure for whom they hardly disguise their own disdain. Perhaps this is rightfully so, as Bono spent most of his early career attempting to be everyone but himself—an all too sane Phil Spector and not-quite-bohemian-enough Bob Dylan. The authors paint the picture of a controlling little man who is constantly trying to eclipse the real star in the picture.
The second half of the book focuses mostly on Cher’s successful career as an actress and her killer comeback in the late ’80s and again in the’ 90s. The authors drop the ball in a few places, occasionally skimming over some of the juiciest bits, including a young and yet-to-be-famous Cher bedding an already very famous Warren Beatty. There is also plenty left unsaid about the diva’s relationship with Gregg Allman and that little fact about her saving Average White Band’s Alan Gorrie from overdosing. So many good ‘WTF?’ moments are left hanging above the reader’s head, many involving her somehow forgotten relationships with the likes of Gene Simmons, Val Kilmer and Richie Sambora. Most of the good dirt comes in the form of direct quotes from Cher’s own autobiography, begging the question, “why don’t I just read that?”
That’s not to be dismissive of the overall message here, however. The authors make it very clear from the beginning what the point of recounting Cher’s story is; she’s a survivor. Despite a few questionable choices along the way (highly publicized failures, lame attempts at knocking off the success of other pop singers in the beginning and getting bossed around by men left and right for most of the ’60s), Cher is a certified badass. Once she got the reigns on her life, she never let go. While All I Really Wanna Do may not be the most profound book you’ll read this summer, it celebrates ladies doin’ it for themselves and staying resilient, which is a reminder we’ll always take with us, even if we don’t have the stiletto Bob Mackies to rock while we do it.