Culture //

Worth a Thousand Words

Mary Ward reviews Kim K’s Selfish.

Kim Kardashian’s Selfish is a hard read.

Not in that it is particularly dense or intellectually stimulating, but in that its proportions (a small 13.5 x 18.5 cm with a whopping 4cm spine) and hardcover exterior make it quite difficult to physically read.  It’s like someone printed the Macquarie Schools Dictionary on photo paper instead of that delightfully thin stuff we’ve all come to associate with religious texts and phone books.

By its physicality alone, Selfish is literally the opposite of a page-turner. Battling to hold the book’s centre pages open could be marketed as some sort of Kardashian-branded workout routine; ‘Kim K’s Book Biceps’ or ‘Read Your Way to Ripped Arms’.

And at $22.95 Selfish is pretty cheap for a fitness plan. It’s also pretty cheap in the celebrity memoir game, where former SNL cast members will charge you $30+ to read each of their not-particularly-unique accounts of a sketch you’ve never seen.

But, let’s be real: $22.95 is a lot of money to pay for the privilege of scrolling through someone’s Instagram feed. Because that’s really what this book is: a printout of someone’s selfies, like the one your mate got made after she went on exchange.

To be honest, it isn’t even that.

This reader noticed MULTIPLE non-selfies in the text. Kim’s hands are both visible in the picture on page 352, taken during her 2014 Thailand vacation, in a photo that is essentially a meta-selfie—a picture of Kim taking a selfie. The book’s final page (page 445, because this is the War and Peace of iPhone photography anthologies)—a picture of Kim and Kanye’s newly wedding-banded hands—was also not photographed by Kim (unless she used her feet, which, to be honest, is a level of skill in this area I wouldn’t put past her).

So, if Selfish isn’t a book of selfies, what is it? Krap? Not quite. But it’s definitely not great.

The unique thing about Kim Kardashian’s celebrity is that it is deliberate and intimate. She isn’t famous for acting or singing; she’s famous for being Kim Kardashian, both on reality television and on social media. As a result, this is perhaps one of the most genuine celebrity memoirs ever created. It’s also one of the dullest.

With photo captions like “Miami nights” and “I’m obsessed with contour”, you know there’s no ghostwriter. In fact, with so many selfies from the same humdrum photo session in Selfish, you have to wonder if it was even edited. (Note: someone called Ian Luna did allegedly edit the book. I reckon he probably went on holiday to Barbados for three months.)

Maybe that’s the lesson here. Celebrities are boring.