I’m Coming to Take You to Lunch by Napier-Bell

When one thinks of memoirs, Joan Didion comes to mind: something along the lines of the impeccably well-written but deadpan sad of The Year of Magical Thinking. Having just finished Simon Napier-Bell’s I’m Coming to Take You to Lunch: A Fantastic Tale of Boys, Booze, and How Wham! Were Sold to China, I think differently about the memoir genre. The book is a fast-paced recounting of a pop manager who manages to get his group (Wham!) to be the first Western pop band to play in (then) communist China. Of course, Napier-Bell throws in a lot of little anecdotes about the record business, shady business people, and the gay hairdressing scene too. It’s probably questionable that half the events in this book actually happened but most are so outrageous that they are believable. Maybe I’m just a sucker for someone who can put on a good publicity stunt or maybe I just liked the gossipy style of writing. The memoir has some really interesting insights into what China used to be like and the early signs of what the country has developed into today. I also enjoyed the various retellings of the pop star egos in action. So, if you’re into any of those behind the scenes shows on VH1 and want to see a pop star rise to fame from a unique perspective, then this book/memoir/semi-fiction is for you.