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on November 9, 2003
This book really is insightful and gives you a real look at the dealings of the music business. It shows you how hard Backstreet Boys worked overseas only to find out they weren't making any money and that a group exactly like them(N SYNC) was being built behind their backs.
It also gives you an insider's look into AJ's problems and addictions and how they first came to be and what lead to them. I would reccommend to this book to everyone especially parents with children who want to be in the music business or those children themselves.
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on November 3, 2003
This is not your everyday fan book: it's an amazingly informative tour through the Backstreet Boys' rise to stardom, as well as a been-there-survived-that handbook for parents coping with their children's substance abuse and depression.
Denise McLean doesn't dwell shallowly on her son's favorite foods or cutesy habits as books by some other Backstreet Boy moms and ex-girlfriends have done-- though her "Alex" certainly gets his due, with great stories about AJ's childhood and early career-- but rather the family and musical struggles (and sacrifices!) that shaped both his life and hers.
Even though my enthusiasm for the Backstreet Boys has waned considerably over the years, the book was still highly entertaining, with great anecdotes about the funnier pitfalls of fame. And the pictures throughout the text were excellent, from snapshots of young Alex to candid shots of Denise and AJ to pics of all five of the Backstreet Boys in Europe in the early days.
Denise is obviously a very strong, intelligent woman, and that comes through in her plain-spoken writing style that is sustained throughout the book.
Definately worth a read.
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on December 4, 2003
Since I want to become a singer as well as my group, (We're kind of like the Backstreet Boys - just girls) this book helped me realize that not even BSB got it handed to them. They worked their asses off to get to where they are today and deserve every bit of it. They don't get as much credit as they should. And to find out that really they were almost flat broke until they parted from Lou. All that work and they were getting nothing.
It's really just a good book that gives you an inside look at AJ's stuggles, fun times, and how he grew up. I really liked the first couple of chapters when it talked about when he was a a baby and his real father was still around. Awesome read.
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on March 20, 2012

It was a very quick read. It was interesting but not heart-wrenchingly dramatic or very inspiring. It was kind of a play-by-play of events but without a lot of details. It has my respect for that because I don't want to be stuck reading a pity-party book, if you know what I mean. Everything sounded very panicked and crazy and exhausting at times, but it wasn't really put together like a readable novel. While I would befriend Ms. McLean, I wouldn't name her a salable writer.

Don't expect a lot of juicy gossip though. Ms. McLean kept the book about her life and her son's. While management is mentioned and Lou Pearlman was dragged through the mud (as he deserved) and Jive Records was trounced (again, deservedly so) and overly creepy managers were mentioned as well, there isn't a whole lot of the crazy that everyone seems so intent to find out about. Jane Carter is mentioned, I think, twice. the other boys families, girlfriends and bodyguards aren't really mentioned a whole lot. They were always sort of classified as other and not necessary to the story.

The boys were mentioned, obviously, and she seemed to have a real affection for them though at times she seemed very hurt by their lack of respect. I think Nick was mentioned the least, while Kevin was mentioned often. He was the one more likely to have a fight with someone because of his temper and he seemed the most moral of the group. I found that surprising because he seems so stoic most of the time. I also found it surprising that Brian has a temper as well because he's always such a goof and seems so happy all of the time. Howie was the most humble and most likely to not have a fight or have a conflict with anyone and he sounded like everyone's favorite mellow fellow. Alex/AJ was obviously the most mentioned. A few of his girlfriends and bodyguards are mentioned by name and Kevin's girlfriend Kirsten was mentioned once or twice.

The McLeans family was mentioned a lot, because family was very important to them. And sadly, one of them passed away while AJ is at his most vulnerable.

The most emotionally driven part of this book was towards the end when AJ is in rehab. That part was very painful and it showed through.

The ending is a bit corny and it makes me wonder if it was the one time the author decided to stretch the truth in the entire book, but it did make me smile for the McLeans.

Not a favorite book, but interesting.
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on November 8, 2003
Until one of the Backstreet Boys get around to writing their own story is the next best thing. Denise spells it out the music business for you and it's not pretty. BSB worked long and hard overseas, away from their families for over two years only to find out their management was making a carbon copy of them back home(insert Nsync here) It seems for every success there was another locked door in their way. But BSB stuck it out and stuck together through it all.
Denise writes how AJ was not only abandoned by his biological Father, but than by the 2 men he thought of as Father figures. Girlfriend's and so-called friends used him for anything and everything they could. Slowly AJ was sucked into a World where no one could reach him.
The hardest part to read was when Kevin and AJ finally came to blows and Kevin laid it on the line for him. "Get help or you're out of the group."
This is a must have for any BSB fan and also for any parent thinking of letting their kids in the business.
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on April 16, 2016
Awful read. Repetitive long and droning about nonsense. Something is a little off about the author it sounds. Obsessed with AJs boyfriend and gossiping about them. Boring read. Not a lot about AJ. This woman undoubtedly gave her life to her sons success and the boys success, and she should be commended and appreciated. But it sounds like she wants a gold star for the rest of her life. One of those people that you have to constantly say "thank you," to or they think you are ungrateful. Also sounds like she thinks she is the only show biz mother who's dealt with a child with addiction. Weird read. Sorry. Not worth even keeping in my library.
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on July 16, 2015
If your'e a Backstreet Boy fan then you need to pick this up! This book really gives an inside look about the band and what really went on, and it comes from a personal experience from AJ's mom. She also really gives a detailed look into all of AJ's issues he had such as all the addictions. Definitely recommend for you to check this out.
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on November 30, 2003
This book is an insightful view into the evolution of one of history's biggest vocal groups, and particularly the effects of their phenomenal fame on member AJ McLean. Because it's written by his mother and with his support, it is not the tabloid garbage that many of these books are. But rather it's an inside look at the ups and downs of the music business, as well as a candid story of one man's struggle with inner demons, addiction, and recovery. A great read for those interested in the industry, as well as those dealing with their own addiction or someone else's.
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on November 17, 2003
This book, is all that i thought it would be and more. This book should be read by those who are going through rehab, have a family member in rehab or if you just love AJ. Dennis McLean, brings her sons whole ordeal and more, into focus and gives as a peek into what it would be like to be in his shoes. Any one would be crazy to NOT read it. You will have a new found respect for single parents, thos in rehab and just life itself.
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on January 9, 2014
Very amazing book! I loved all the insight about the struggles the boys and AJ went through as in the media you don't see much of the truth. Thank You Denise for sharing all of this and really making the readers feel closer to the boys!
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