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18 February 2022

We don’t need an autobiography from 22-year-old Molly-Mae

Why does everyone these days think their life is worthy of a book?

By Chris Stokel-Walker

Stop the presses: the influencer and former Love Island contestant Molly-Mae Hague – most recently in the news for her tone-deaf claims about work ethic – is to release an autobiography. Becoming Molly-Mae will be published in June, she announced on Instagram last week, and will run to 320 pages – or 14 times her entire lifespan.

Hague, 22, will have just turned 23 by the time the book is released. Come on now: de-arch your eyebrows.

It’s far from the first time an unbelievably young celebrity has released a tome on their life – or what’s happened in it so far. Hague will be the same age as fellow reality TV star Paris Hilton was when she released Confessions of an Heiress in 2004, while Drew Barrymore managed to “pen” a book (with a ghostwriter) at the age of 15 in 1990.

But it does beg the question: what exactly will she have to say? The book’s blurb, from its publisher Penguin, promises highlights such as stories of Irish dancing pageants and “holding a job down at Boots”.

When the home of the affordable meal deal gets a mention in a book blurb, it doesn’t bode well for a gripping read.

“Generally speaking, it’s best to leave the story of your life until you have a lifetime of stories,” said Martin Hickman, founder of the book publisher Canbury Press. (In the interests of full disclosure, Canbury has published both my books.) Hickman said that traditionally means those aged 45 and up. “But some individuals have spectacular success at a young age. For instance, sportspeople such as Emma Raducanu, and it would be daft to delay their books until they hit 50, when the bulk of what people will be interested in would have happened much earlier,” he added.

There’s also the fact that influencers can sell what is often described as “tat” and get people to buy it in their droves. BookTok is a big thing, while YouTubers have previously sold books that are largely empty pages (for you to fill in!) with nary a worry.

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Yet Hague isn’t alone in seeking to tell her story at a tender age. Recent research commissioned by a ghostwriting company reported that more than a third of respondents wanted to have written their own memoirs by the time they’re 40. Life comes at you fast – and while a business selling ghostwriting services to the general public is always going to say that people want to write their life stories, it seems that many of us are keen to put pen to paper equally speedily.

One major issue, of course, is that for those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the most excitement we’ve probably had in the past two years has been anticipating the Deliveroo driver’s knock at the door. Two years of inactivity, weeks spent in pyjamas and exhausting the darkest depths of Netflix’s back catalogue is just a blip in the well-lived life story of an octogenarian.

When it’s a tenth of your entire life – and even more when you take into account the bits you’re actually likely to be able to remember – those 320 pages can be trickier to fill.

There is one silver lining – at least for Hague’s bank balance. There’s plenty of time to squeeze out a sequel or two.

[See also: Molly-Mae proves the absurdity of “girlboss” feminism]

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