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  Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by Christopher John Farley

Review by: Morghan C.
Michigan, Grade 10

Gone But Never Forgotten; the Story of Aaliyah
What would you do if you knew today was your last day? How would you act differently? Of course people don’t know when or if their last day is approaching. Suicidal, elderly, and severely ill people can anticipate their deaths, but don’t really know when or how it will happen. Most people however don’t even anticipate death at all. Everyday seems like a normal day, but then bam… something happens, and these ordinary people are being buried. On August 25, 2001, singer/actress Aaliyah Dana Houghton wasn’t anticipating death, but she unfortunately was in a plane accident, with no hope of survival.
To honor Aaliyah and talk about her career and all her accomplishments, Christopher John Farley, a music critic for Time Magazine, wrote the autobiography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman. It’s amazing how many accomplishments a twenty-two-year-old woman can really have. At the tender age of fourteen, Aaliyah entered the music business, and by age fifteen, her first single, “Back and Forth” hit number one on the “Hot 100 Chart”, this was the beginning of her successful career. In 1996, she released her “One in a Million” album and before the close of 1997 the album went double platinum. In 1999, she was chosen for one of Teen People Magazine’s “Twenty-one hottest stars under twenty-one,” and voted first place for “Ten Sexiest Woman of the Year” in Black Men Magazine. Not only was Aaliyah obviously a talented singer and beautiful woman, but she managed to star in plays and movies as well. Her most famous performance would probably be in the movie “Queen of the Damned” when she played a vampire named Akasha. Farley interviewed Michael Rymer, the director of the movie, and Rymer talked about the first time he met the Houghton Family.
He used the simile,” It was like they weren’t human” as he referred to the behavior of the Houghton family during the audition.
“They sat there so calmly. It was almost outside of human behavior. I wanted to get a reaction out of them. But you couldn’t faze them about anything. You couldn’t get them upset or excited. They were just sort of even-tempered and straightforward and they were simple about how they dealt with things.”
Some people believe that Aaliyah saw her death approaching. Aaliyah told Farley about a repetitive dream she had been having. She called it her favorite dream. In the dream she used the simile,” How do I feel? As if I am swimming in air.” Some people thought of this as Aaliyah going up to heaven, others thought it was a huge coincidence.
When Christopher Farley described the day of Aaliyah’s death, he used a metaphor and personification,” The plane rolled down the runway. It was Saturday, August 25, 2001. It was a warm day. The sky was smiling. Disaster was moments away. The weather said nothing.” The way Farley chose to write his description is short but descriptive enough to give you an idea of what was exactly happening.
Farley wasn’t as descriptive with everything as he was about the day Aaliyah died. Sensory images weren’t very easy to find but there were a few. Firstly, sight,” The sky was smiling and was as beautiful as ever.” Then sound,” Aaliyah’s voice was as good as the divas of the time.” Thirdly, smell,” The air had its own distinct scent.” Taste was difficult to find, but I found,” The young singer was actually eight-years-old but she shared similar tastes.” And finally, touch,” Aaliyah’s skin was soft and beautiful.”
Overall, I think the book was just okay. On a scale one to ten, I would give it a six. The reason I didn’t like it is because Farley spoke about other artists almost more than Aaliyah, when the book is about her. When he did focus on Aaliyah, the information taught me a lot about her life and struggles she went through to get to her dreams of being a star. I think Aaliyah is a great role model for people to look up to and try to be more like. She was not only beautiful on the outside, but just, if not more beautiful in the inside. All and all, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn about singer/actress Aaliyah Houghton and the affects of the tragic death.

I liked learning about Aaliyah, I think Farley did a great job at it. However, I didn't like how he would begin to talk about Aaliyah and then go pages on about another singer or performer, I picked out the book to learn about Aaliyah. I guess it was alright to learn about the other stars, but I wish he would have focused more on Aaliyah.

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