Whenever a celebrity dies, the quickly-published biography is inevitable. But in the case of Amy Winehouse, it’s the author that makes her biography unusual. Her father, Mitch Winehouse, signed a deal with HarperCollins to write Amy, My Daughter, which is set to be released next summer.
This is an all-around bad idea for a few reasons:
1. The deal paints Mitch Winehouse in a bad light. The fact that a father is financially benefiting from his daughter’s death makes me nauseous.
2. In order to properly write a biography, the author must do extensive research on the subject. Mitch Winehouse obviously knew his daughter, Amy. But that’s not to say he knew her well. Though her drug abuse was apparent, he would have to speak with her friends, ex-boyfriends and colleagues to learn the extent of it, and that’s not going to make his grieving period go any smoother.
3. If he doesn’t do the appropriate research and instead writes her biography how he saw it, it will be emotional and loving, but has the potential to show bias and make excuses for her behavior.
But of the many forms that mourning can take, a memoir of a lost daughter seems ill-advised at best. What kind of perspective can Amy Winehouse’s father have? How can he be expected to deal with her difficulties, her proclivities? In a 2007 interview with the Guardian, not long after her album “Back to Black” came out, Winehouse said she wanted her superpower to be “supersexuality”; her one-word answer to “How do you relax?” was “sex”; and her most unappealing habit was “being an abusive drunk.” A straightforward biography would be hard enough — but one from her father?
Instead, I’d like to nominate Russell Brand to write it. His memoirial to Amy Winehouse, which appeared in the Guardian sparkled with intelligence, insight and empathy.
Unfortunately, it seems the rights have already been signed over to Mitch Winehouse, and there’s not much that can be done at this point. We all know Amy, My Daughter is bound to be a bestseller anyway. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best decision.