By Billie Eilish
Wren & Rock
Review: Chantel Erfort
Let me start with a disclaimer or two. I am not a Billie Eilish fan. I’m also not not a Billie Eilish fan.
When her picture book was delivered to me, I hadn’t expected it and had only ever heard her hit song Bad Guy because it was on a compilation CD my friend’s sister had made for her.
I knew that she and her brother produced (some of) their music in a bedroom studio and that she had won “a bucket load” of awards.
Of course, Wikipedia tells me, that’s a gross understatement. Following the release of her debut studio album in 2019, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell (her full name) actually wrote herself into the record books, becoming the youngest person and only the second in history to win the four main Grammy Award categories − Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year − in the same year (2020). That year she also won the categories for Best Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Solo Performance.
She also has a huge following, her own clothing line and has released a new album, Happier Than Ever.
When I initially unboxed the book, I was pretty cynical, questioning the need for an artist to release a picture book when fans could simply follow her on Instagram or some other social media platform if they wanted a glimpse into her life.
However, I gave it a chance, and found myself sucked into the picture story as it unfolded, giving the reader a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of a young pop star coming to terms with super stardom while also trying to live as normal a life as possible.
Sometimes I liked the pictures without captions; in other instances, however, the lack of context and explanation of the oversimplified picture captions, annoyed me.
I also felt that what little writing there was in the book belied the seemingly mature depth of thought and analysis of human relations which manifests in Eilish’s songs. (Yes, I listened to some of her music and did some further research after reading the book.)
And while I enjoyed being immersed in this book for the hour or so that it took me to finish it, I must be honest: I felt like I knew very little more about this young pop sensation after I turned the last page.
Ultimately, this book, which is described as giving an intimate look into the pop star’s life, only scratches the surface. There are times she hints at something a bit deeper but simply doesn’t allow the reader in any further.
This one is for the fans only. I can’t see anyone else taking any kind of value or meaningful experience from it.