Book Review: Miles to Go

by Amy Littleson

We all know her. Or at least we think we do. We’ve heard her on the radio, seen her on MTV, YouTube, talk shows, music videos, the internet, shirts, posters in every little girl’s bedroom, award shows, iTunes, and in those scandalous photos in Vanity Fair. She is Miley Cyrus, the seventeen-year-old made famous by her television character, Miley Stewart, or “Hannah Montana,” and the cheesy love/pop songs she writes and sings. Everyone seems to have an opinion on Miley and her actions.  However, she’s now decided to open up and “come clean”  about her life story in an autobiography entitled Miles to Go.

When I started reading Miles to Go, I intended to laugh at Miley Cyrus and make fun of her attempt at writing an autobiography. But as I read the book, I fell for Miley’s stories of character-shaping challenges, and I slowly began to gain respect for this controversial star. At times in this book, Miley acts like a spoiled superstar, but then she’ll let her humble side come through, telling a funny story about a mistake.  Suddenly she’s relatable and just like any other teenager.

Miley starts her story at the beginning; before she was famous and popular and cool enough to date a Jonas Brother. She describes sixth grade in her home town of Nashville as “social hell,” and talks about being humiliated and loathed by all of the other sixth grade girls. Miley gains sympathy as she describes being locked in a school bathroom for hours by the “mean girls” at her middle school. And yet Miley writes that she was told all the time by the famous people her dad knew that she was a talented and special girl. So like any other talented and special person, Miley turned to cheerleading to forget the torture she experienced at school.

Then Miley explains how she was discovered by Disney and changed into an international phenomenon. She says she auditioned multiple times to be on the show Hannah Montana at age eleven, and then turned from a cow loving “country girl” into an L.A. actress. At this point in her book, you begin to wonder how many strings her famous dad, Billy Ray, pulled to even get her an audition. And then, of course, he ends up starring with her on the show. Miley goes on to tell this exaggerated tale of instant stardom, fame, and success…achieved through eight-year-old fans as she wore a blonde wig half the time and was the opening act for the Cheetah Girls tour.

After Miley Cyrus writes about taking over the Disney Channel, she speaks of her constant fights with her costar, Emily Osment. She also continues to reflect on her country past in Tennessee, such as when she and her grandpa would go to the annual celebration of mules and donkeys held in Columbia, called Mule Day. She is proud enough to write that on one Mule Day celebration she bought her first donkey, which she promptly named Eeyore. These little stories show how much she’s trying to prove she’s a simple, “down to earth” cowgirl that anyone can relate to. But then again, it’s hard to reconcile Miley being unspoiled and normal when she then describes the time Disneyland was completely shut down to hold her sixteenth birthday party…at times I thought, how “down to earth” and “normal” can she really be?

But then the story changes.  This book is full of Miley Cyrus’s triumphs and failures throughout her mere sixteen years. She touches on everything; from being depressed, singing at the White House, falling on stage, filming her first movie, being a “hard-core Christian,” playing Guitar Hero, and awaiting her Prince Charming.

Yes, that’s right. Throughout the book Miley refers to her fist love as Prince Charming. She never mentions his real name, though everyone knows that her Prince Charming was the Nick Jonas, from yet another Disney band. Miley describes falling in love with him immediately, at age fifteen, him singing “My Girl” to her as they rode bikes together. True love. So she wrote her debut album all about him before they broke up a year later.

Miley uses this opportunity to talk about her complete devotion to the people and things that she truly loves, and she begins to seem surprisingly sincere and honest. It becomes easier to relate to Miley as she admits all of her faults, mistakes, and weaknesses, and shares her goals for improving herself.

Miley Cyrus ends the book with advice for her fans, the clichéd suggestion to “follow your dreams and live every day to its fullest.” She constantly mentions her goal to be a positive and good role model for her fans. In all, Miley truly means well and writes from her heart. She hopes her career in performing will inspire people to do what they love and never hold back.

Oh, just one more thing: the last pages of the book list the 100 things she wants to do before she dies, and number 40 is “make a metal album.”

Good luck Miley.

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