B-List Memoirs Aim to Reignite Fading Stars

For celebrities, or the California-bred subculture of pseudo-celebs, nothing is more troubling than seeing one's once bright star begin to wane. To prevent -- or supersede -- the fall from stardom, many choose the route of self-congratulatory, autobiographical promotion: the B-list memoir.

"The opposite of love is not hate, but apathy," said Michael Levine, founder of LCO public relations. "Celebrities don't want to be forgotten, and a book can be an appealing way to get attention back."

Often these memoirs need not necessarily detail a long life well-lived, or even a long life at all. Age seems to be little barrier to celebrities' desires to tell their life stories.

Boy Bander Goes the Oprah Effect

"Sopranos" starlet Jamie-Lynn Sigler released her book "Wise Girl" at the ripe old age of 20, while former 'N Sync singer Lance Bass decided that at 27 the time was right to "tell all" in the forthcoming "Out of Sync."

Bass shot to overnight boy band success with pop hits like "Bye, Bye, Bye," but the band went on a hiatus in 2002. That same year Bass endured a failed attempt to head into outer space after undergoing astronaut training in Russia.

All was quiet until July 2006 when a media storm whipped up around Bass' announcement that he was gay.

"You don't see the likes of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie doing this kind of thing, and autobiographies are sometimes an attempt to resurrect a career," said Joe Saltzman, a former producer for "Entertainment Tonight" with four Emmys to his name. "With Bass, though, it may be his way of setting the record straight and it may help kids who are struggling with their sexuality."

The very much A-list Oprah Winfrey may be the hidden influence behind this wave of autobiographies, according to celebrity commentators.

"We live in a confessional society, thanks to Oprah, where vulnerability is extremely attractive," Levine told ABC News. "A lot of B- and C-listers are using this platform to resurrect a career that has stalled or fallen on hard times."

OK, but Are the Books Any Good?

One major hindrance of a B-lister using an autobiography as a means of returning to the good times is that many of the books are "uninspiring," according to Saltzman. Evidence of this is not hard to find.

"It will be a sad day when I can't buy my own toilet paper," announced "American Idol's" Clay Aiken in his 2004 release "Learning to Sing."

Aiken's self-described "inspirational memoir" ends with a random collection of his favorite childhood recipes. But the most telling part of the book comes in the first chapter, in which Aiken writes that as a kid "the punishment I disliked the most was writing sentences."

An admission such as this does not exactly fill a reader with great expectations.

Former childhood star Donny Osmond's autobiography "Life Is Just What You Make It" opens with the declaration that "I guess the beginning is a good place to start."

While that sentiment is one most would agree with, it's not necessarily revelatory and might leave readers with the suspicion that sometimes it's also better to just skip to the end.

Bad Press? No Problem

The London Sunday Times described Sharon Osbourne's memoir "Extreme" as a "pungent and distinctive autobiography," which Osbourne was seemingly pleased enough with to include on the back cover.

In 2004, Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis released his memoir "Scar Tissue." It reached No. 17 on The New York Times bestseller list, but not everyone was impressed.

"Reading it made me want to kill myself," said Brenna Burns, an avid reader who works at a Borders bookstore in Hollywood.

While Kiedis' suicidal, thought-inducing autobiography sold well, the memoirs of most B-list celebrities, much like their careers, often disappear from the public eye faster than rain down a storm drain.

However, each new release carries the hopes of an individual determined to break the mold and win back public affection. If Bass' book bombs rather than soars then it will be over to former "Beverly Hills 90210" and reality star Tori Spelling.

Her autobiography is due April 2008. Save the date.