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Belieber!: Fame, Faith, and the Heart of Justin Bieber Paperback – September 27, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Justin Bieber’s meteoric rise from a regular kid in small-town Canada to “the most fa- mous teenager on the planet” has captivated the imagination of a generation of young devotees known as “Beliebers.” With record-setting album sales, more than 11 million followers on Twitter and the highest-grossing concert film of all time, the 17-year-old pop star has legions of fans around the globe who hang on his every word.
Is there something more to Bieber’s unprecedented success than his innate cuteness and preternatural musical talents? Could a powerful spiritual yearning be lurking be- hind all the purple and puppy-love lyrics?
With the keen eye of a veteran religion journalist and culture watcher, Cathleen Falsani takes an in-depth look at how the bold yet humble faith of this teenage ubercelebrity is not only a key to his staggering popularity, but an influence that is shaping the lives and hearts of young people (and more than a few of their parents) worldwide.
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As a non-believer myself, I would have expected that something written by a religion editor and rather fundamentalist author to be the last thing I could stand reading. Yet this book, "Belieber: Fame, Faith, and the Heart of Justin Bieber" is really a well researched, well written, and from what I can tell accurate telling of the spiritual side of Justin Bieber. It helps explain the singer's more than occasional thanking of God, his intense charity work, and actually his goodness as a person. Justin is one of those rare individuals who actually practices what he preaches. He is genuine to the core and very human - he makes mistakes and is quick to apologize and even uses his mistakes as a gentle lesson to his young followers.
My favorite example of this is his famously giving the finger to a bunch of relentless paparazzi. Both his flipping the bird and his subsequent apology were completely real and his using the incident to talk about the dangers of acting in anger, pure genius.
This book gives you a clear feel for the origins of all this, his mother's journey, and how Justin has come to be surrounded by the incredible people that comprise Team Bieber. It is well worth reading.
Although Falsani was not able to interview Justin Bieber personally, nor any member of his close team of supporters, she has researched him thoroughly, including reading each of his thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts. As a true child of the age of social networking, Bieber tweets his millions of followers several times a day, unless his mother has confiscated his phone and laptop for bad behaviour!. Twitter and Facebook make it possible for his many fans to `know' Justin in a way that was inconceivable a few short years ago. (It is testament to the power of social marketing that this book doesn't solicit Amazon reviews or star ratings. Instead, it asks you to `like' the book so it is shared with all your Facebook friends, or tweet it. If you don't understand Facebook or Twitter, ask the closest teenager.)
Belieber! is written in a conversational style, making it an easy-to-read short book (which includes dozens of quotes from fans about why they like Justin, and a comprehensive bibliography). A true Belieber will no doubt need a copy in order to complete their collection of Bieber-nalia. Reading Belieber! might start a non-Christian thinking about the `secret' behind Bieber's success (or they might just find it too preachy, with a whole chapter about how Justin's mother gives God all the credit). Falsani herself says that her hope is that the book with act as "a catalyst for conversations among adults and young people, pastors and their flocks, teachers and students, parents and children... about the things that matter most in life".
However, I think the book is really intended for the rest of us - parents and friends of Beliebers, in order to help us understand what all the fuss is about, and to find out whether Bieber is worthy of the adoration our tweens and teens give him. Falsani portrays Justin Bieber as a Christian with a strong support network, but points out, "the only celebrity whose way of life we should worry about comparing ourselves to is Jesus". It hasn't turned me into a Belieber, but I have a better understanding of the singer and his influence on our young people.
Thanks to Worthy Publishing and NetGalley for providing a review copy.
A chapter into the book I realized how wrong I was. Cathleen, even without the benefit of talking directly to the child star, provides a reporter's eye for assimilating a massive amount of detail into a coherent whole. A whole, that I must say, is most impressive. Specifically, what is most impressive is the character of this young man. I was absolutely shocked at the depth of his relationships with his mom, his grandparents, his old friends, and the assimilated "Team Bieber." At the risk of sounding judgmental, one doesn't have to look too far into the Hollywood, or Disney, machine to become discouraged with the "role models" that are being offered to our children. After reading this book, I believe that Justin Bieber is not only a good role model, but a quality person. If you think that I'm being duped, read the book for yourself. Go ahead. I dare you. You just might become a Belieber.
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