Brutally Honest
The tell-all memoir from the loudest, proudest Spice Girl and the truth behind the headlinesAs one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on X Factor and America's Got Talent, Melanie Brown, a.k.a Scary Spice, has been an international star since her twenties. Brutally Honest is an exposé of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and success.With deep personal insight, remarkable frankness and trademark Yorkshire humour, the book removes the mask of fame and reveals the true story behind the Spice Girls, as well as the horror of her most recent marriage and her 10 year struggle to be free.

Brutally Honest Details

TitleBrutally Honest
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 27th, 2018
PublisherQuadrille Publishing
ISBN-139781787133525
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Audiobook

Brutally Honest Review

  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Mel B, Scary Spice, her of the leopard print catsuit and loud mouth, has certainly had a tough few years. I’d heard a lot of the rumours surrounding her infamous marriage breakdown to then husband Stephen Belafonte, and the rift with her family, but quite honestly I didn’t expect her to be quite so upfront about what really went on behind those closed doors for ten years. This really is brutally honest, and I admire the courage and strength that it must have taken for her to put this all to pape Mel B, Scary Spice, her of the leopard print catsuit and loud mouth, has certainly had a tough few years. I’d heard a lot of the rumours surrounding her infamous marriage breakdown to then husband Stephen Belafonte, and the rift with her family, but quite honestly I didn’t expect her to be quite so upfront about what really went on behind those closed doors for ten years. This really is brutally honest, and I admire the courage and strength that it must have taken for her to put this all to paper. The emotional abuse she had to deal with (and her children had to deal with) is awful, and you can feel that pain written in every word. At her worst she was a shell of her former self, locked in a battle with drugs and alcohol to try and block out her life.This is a book primarily about Mel’s relationships with men. If you’re looking for memories of her time with the Spice Girls, this isn’t the book for you (although they are mentioned, and it’s a joy to read when they are). It’s squarely focused on all the men who’ve made an impact on her life, starting with her father, through to Jimmy her first husband, Eddie Murphy (the supposed ‘love of her life’) and, of course, Stephen. She discusses what she feels caused her to pick the worst kind of man imaginable, and also offers up that grain of hope that even if you are stuck in an abusive relationship there’s always a way out. It might take time - it took Mel an additional three years and the death of her father to finally leave Stephen for good, but it can be done. At times I found the writing a little all over the place, and some sentences or paragraphs were repeated several times throughout the book (such as Mel reminiscing about when she bought her parents a house, which she explains no less than three times). There’s also no clear structure or timeline, going from that fateful night before the X Factor show when she tries to commit suicide, back to her childhood, Eddie, Stephen again, back to Jimmy etc. It feels chaotic, and this is a big reflection of Mel B herself who comes across as quite the whirlwind. Some focus would have helped however, as at times I struggled to get to grips with the timeframes. A raw, sometimes difficult read, that I hope helps Mel deal with a truly traumatic time in her life. I hope she can finally accept herself, and find the peace she certainly deserves.
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  • Pavan Amara
    January 1, 1970
    Although, she has clearly been through brutal circumstances, I felt this book was beautifully honest. It felt like it came from a truly genuine place, rather than being a PR device. Mel B was (and still is!) Girl Power personified for me and many others - I have been a huge Spice Girls fan since I was seven years old (I am a lot older now...) - so I admit I am biased. But, as such a big fan, I didn't want to be disappointed whilst reading this. The thing I love about this book, is that Mel B's b Although, she has clearly been through brutal circumstances, I felt this book was beautifully honest. It felt like it came from a truly genuine place, rather than being a PR device. Mel B was (and still is!) Girl Power personified for me and many others - I have been a huge Spice Girls fan since I was seven years old (I am a lot older now...) - so I admit I am biased. But, as such a big fan, I didn't want to be disappointed whilst reading this. The thing I love about this book, is that Mel B's bright and brilliant personality shines out of it all the way through. She clearly went through a lot of shit and it's explained in detail, but in no way does that manage to overshadow all the other dazzling aspects of her personality. Like many women, she's been with a dickhead at some point in her life. And he took a lot from her. And like many women, she didn't see how bad it really was until it was far too late. But, she's taken that and turned it into something really positive, and it's hard not to respect someone who can pick themselves up and make good from the bad. It's so important that women write books like this, to remove stigma from the horrible violence some experience in their relationships, and to make others aware of the warning signs. It's informative, and explains the concepts of coercive control and gaslighting clearly and accessibly for anyone to understand. I can see this being an aid to those who read it.Aside from that, it's well-written, well-structured, and well-edited. The chapters written by Andrea and Phoenix were especially insightful, because they portrayed so perfectly how the traumatising effects of domestic violence reverberate into the lives of of children, parents, friends, siblings. I thought this book was amazing, on so many levels. It's full of life, in all its shades. And I am an even bigger Spice Girls fan after reading this, but now, for far more significant reasons.
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  • Laura Barnard
    January 1, 1970
    I finished Mel B's Brutally Honest book. Wow. She really was honest and I think fair play to her for being so open and honest, showing even the strongest woman can be manipulated and abused over years. Although I wish she would have written it in order. All of the back and forth gave me a headache.
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  • Dora Santos Marques
    January 1, 1970
    A minha opinião em vídeo https://youtu.be/eCCOjQEJ5vs
  • V Nerd
    January 1, 1970
    Mel B was always the very outspoken, ball-bashing one of the Spice Girls, if it needed saying, she was probably the one to say it, she gave no-shits about what people thought about her, and was very happy with this thank you very much!Except this was really what she wanted people to see, she was actually a girl looking for love, mainly that of her father, he obviously loved her, but I think that she wanted to be shown how much she was loved, instead of being told that she wasn't going to amount Mel B was always the very outspoken, ball-bashing one of the Spice Girls, if it needed saying, she was probably the one to say it, she gave no-shits about what people thought about her, and was very happy with this thank you very much!Except this was really what she wanted people to see, she was actually a girl looking for love, mainly that of her father, he obviously loved her, but I think that she wanted to be shown how much she was loved, instead of being told that she wasn't going to amount to anything, or that she was just a nuisance.Melanie doesn't hold back in this book, she is indeed Brutally Honest, she tells you about everything, from the drinking, to the drugs and more.Her relationships with her friends, family and lovers are also included, including lots of old stories about how she got into the Spice Girls, and also about the man that she calls the love of her life, Eddie Murphy.She also tells the story about her 10 year marriage to Stephen Belafonte (pronounced Steffan, cause he's a dick like that!)At the beginning the relationship was good, but it was quick, they were married really early on in the relationship, and he started to more than a healthy interest in her work/friends/money etc. So much so, in the end he had full control of everything!After a short time the abuse started, but as she explains it wasn't hitting straight away, it was verbal and emotional abuse, and it was done so subtly that she didn't even realise what it was.It’s hard to see when you are in it (although it becomes horribly, blindingly obvious when you are out of it) that the emotional upset you feel with your partner doesn’t just exist between the two of you or in your bedroom. It is an energy that fills a house.She was Gaslighted, mentally and emotionally abused, which finally led to physical abuse.When you are reading the book, you find that it does jump around a bit, from past to present, Melanie admits to having ADHD which is why I think it does this, it doesn't seem to be in any sort of chronological order, it's like she thinks of something and has to get it down before she forgets it, and I loved that about it.For 10 years this woman was beaten down to feeling like nothing, and even at one point tried to kill herself, she was self medicating with drink and drugs to stop these feelings, and for the whole time she felt like, and was told it was her fault- THIS IS ABUSEMelanie is an incredibly brave woman to open up her life to show everyone, and I applaud her for this, it shows that abuse does not discriminate, old, young, rich or poor, it can effect anyone.Mel tells her story, warts and all, and explains how, to those people that say "Why didn't you just leave?" that it isn't that easy, some people don't even realise that they are being abused.There are 15 signs on the cover of the book, these are all RED FLAGS, it is incredibly important that people recognise these signs, and maybe, just maybe it will help, even just one person.I think she is one HELL of a brave lady for doing this, and I hope that her and her family are super happy now 😘🎧🎧 - Narration for the audio book was by Zaraah Abrahams who was fabulous, she sounds very much like Mel B when she speaks, so by the time it was halfway through, I had forgotten it was a different person narrating it.15 Signs of Domestic Abuse:1. Tells you that you can never do anything right.2. Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away.3. Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members.4. Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs.5. Controls every penny spent in the household.6. Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses.7. Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you.8. Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do.9. Prevents you from making your own decisions.10. Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children.11. Prevents you from working or attending school.12. Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets.13. Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons.14. Pressures you to have sex when you don't want to or do things sexually you're not comfortable with.15. Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.If this is you, then don't be afraid to talk to someone about it, you are not alone, it is NOT YOUR FAULT, he doesn't have to hit you for it to be abuse #ThisIsNotLove #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou
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  • Melania 🍒
    January 1, 1970
    @40%I didn’t dnf’ed this memoir because it wasn’t well written or uninteresting or anything like that, but I’m not such a big fan of Mel’s ( I’m really barely a fan at all of everything spice girls) and I must admit I found Mel’s voice to be a bit annoying
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  • Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎
    January 1, 1970
    Brutally honest … a fit title. I am not a Melanie B. fan, in fact, I find her loud and overwhelming personality intimidating, I totally get the “scary spice” moniker. This book helps the reader understand who Mel is, where she comes from, her experiences and many mistakes in life.I respect her because, in this memoirs, she dared to show her childhood problems, drinking and drugs abuse, sexual appetites, attempted suicides and her poor choices in relationships. Furthermore, I admire Mel’s courage Brutally honest … a fit title. I am not a Melanie B. fan, in fact, I find her loud and overwhelming personality intimidating, I totally get the “scary spice” moniker. This book helps the reader understand who Mel is, where she comes from, her experiences and many mistakes in life.I respect her because, in this memoirs, she dared to show her childhood problems, drinking and drugs abuse, sexual appetites, attempted suicides and her poor choices in relationships. Furthermore, I admire Mel’s courage to bare it all in the hope to help other women and highlight the issue of domestic abuse. Controlling, manipulative and emotional abusive relationships happen in Hollywood as well as in the suburbs. After reading this book, I learned the term “gaslighting”. I feel some sympathy for her, but I have greater sympathy for Phoenix, her elder daughter, who witnessed things no child should. Fav. quotes:Bizarrely it turns out it is often the apparently stronger woman who is more likely to be abused. According to statistics, women earning more than 67 per cent of the total household income are seven times more likely to experience psychological and physical abuse.It’s hard to see when you are in it (although it becomes horribly, blindingly obvious when you are out of it) that the emotional upset you feel with your partner doesn’t just exist between the two of you or in your bedroom. It is an energy that fills a house. You carry it with you wherever you are, and it changes you and it changes them. I was so emotionally blocked and messed up, and self-medicating with drink and drugs, that I didn’t realize that they did see, hear and feel things no child ever should.Legal battles are like living with a team of builders permanently in your house. They make a mess, they cost a fortune, and, whatever you ask them to do, there is always a problem.
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  • Chaitanya Sethi
    January 1, 1970
    The Spice Girls were an international sensation when they first came on the pop music scene in 1996. They became overnight sensations and topped charts, sold out arenas, and even had a movie commissioned on them, Spiceworld, as the five of them - Geri, Emma, Victoria, Mel C and Mel B became synonymous with the message of 'Girl Power'.This book is about the life of Mel B, who was lovingly dubbed 'Scary Spice'. As she writes about herself in the book,Of the spice girls, I was notoriously the one i The Spice Girls were an international sensation when they first came on the pop music scene in 1996. They became overnight sensations and topped charts, sold out arenas, and even had a movie commissioned on them, Spiceworld, as the five of them - Geri, Emma, Victoria, Mel C and Mel B became synonymous with the message of 'Girl Power'.This book is about the life of Mel B, who was lovingly dubbed 'Scary Spice'. As she writes about herself in the book,Of the spice girls, I was notoriously the one incapable of holding her tongue, incapable of being made to do anything I didn't want to do. My whole scary spice persona wasbuilt on the fact that I was intimidated by no one." With this in mind, to read for over 250 pages how she was manipulated, gaslighted, and made emotionally and financially bankrupt, was heartbreaking. She starts off with her infamous 2014 appearance in the X Factor finals in UK where viewers could see her bruised eye and needle marks on her arm. Melanie had overdosed on pills and was hospitalised for the same. It made headlines globally.She jumps back in time to talk about her upbringing in Leeds. Born to a black father and a white mother in the 70s, she grew up unsure of who she was. She talks about her strict father who was, at times, loving and sensitive, and at others, cold and detached. His iron fist on the family drove a wedge between them as his repeated attempts to discipline her only fueled her rebellion. This pattern would come up in Mel's relationship with men - who were controlling, manipulative and possessive.A huge chunk of the book is devoted to Eddie Murphy, who she dubs the love of her life. They had a short courtship, she got pregnant, and moved in with him. Soon, she got frustrated with his controlling ways - he wouldn't let her leave the house, he wanted to keep her in front of his eyes - and in true Ross and Rachel fashion, they took a break. Unfortunately it didn't end well. She refused to take up his calls and he foolishly announced to a press reporter that he didn't know if the child was his and that he'd need a DNA test to confirm his paternity. The sad part of this was that this interview happened right during the time she was flying from UK to his place in US. Understandably, she ended things there and then.Lost and heartbroken, she soon met Stephen, the man who would marry her and be the focal reason behind this book. Mel B saw that Stephen was a 'player' through and through and admired his confidence. The whole Eddie saga had barely ended and Stephen had already started pursuing her shamelessly, which made her feel he really liked her. Sadly, she was a meal ticket for his fortune. She writes how no one, literally no one liked him from the get go. Not her parents, not the Spice Girls, not her ex-husband, not even her daughter, and not her long term assistant and friend Janet, who ended up quitting soon afterwards.Although it is a one sided story, Mel B describes in agonizing detail about the toll it took on her. How he had slowly ended her contact with her family, taken over the finances of the house, called all the shots for her, and kept her imprisoned in the house. He confused her by praising her effusively and insulting her the next minute. He'd bring in women and ask her to participate in threesomes which he recorded. He filmed her doing alcohol and drugs and threatened to ruin her life. He told her she was a terrible mother in front of her children. He spent her money like water and blew close to 38 Million pounds during their decade long marriage. Mel, smitten and confused, continued to stay imprisoned in this relationship, confusing his possessiveness for love and his abuse for the result of his upbringing in a broken home.Mel B writes how after earning 80 Million pounds across her 2 decade long career, she left with her daughters and $936 in a joint account. And that too, only when her father passed away. She couldn't bear the thought of Stephen releasing the sex tapes, which he often threatened to, and risk her father seeing it. She only mustered the courage to turn her life around when her father had breathed his last.This book was, first and foremost, true to the title. It was brutally honest. Mel B didn't flinch from sharing the most intimate of details, and some of them really make you flinch. She is not a brilliant writer though, so don't expect any quote that might stick with you. The language is simple and sometimes too repetitive. She emphasises upon the same things over and over, and admits that her ADHD and dyslexia is to blame. The timelines jump randomly and she mixes in incidents old and new and switches paragraphs for no reason.Nonetheless, it was a gritty book. You may view it as a cautionary tale of what happens in Hollywood, you may view it as the story of people in abusive relationships, or you may view it as a woman's story from a working class family to international fame. But Mel B deserves praise for not holding her tongue, and showing that she may very well be back to the persona that people have loved her for.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    Y las Spice? :(
  • L. Powell
    January 1, 1970
    Raw and emotional. Mel B describes her traumatic experiences in a domestically violent relationship. Brutally honest, the only way to describe this powerful read.
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Mel B, Scary Spice, Loud Mouthed, Confident, In Charge, Girl Power - she comes across as untouchable, the epitome of a strong, powerful woman. So she would never be controlled or manipulated by a man, right? Wrong. This memoir is a harrowing look at years of living in an abusive relationship - hiding in secrecy, in shame, in pain. Plastering on a brave face in public and cracking up behind closed doors. Mel is incredibly open and honest about how she coped - alcohol, drugs, sex. She bravely docu Mel B, Scary Spice, Loud Mouthed, Confident, In Charge, Girl Power - she comes across as untouchable, the epitome of a strong, powerful woman. So she would never be controlled or manipulated by a man, right? Wrong. This memoir is a harrowing look at years of living in an abusive relationship - hiding in secrecy, in shame, in pain. Plastering on a brave face in public and cracking up behind closed doors. Mel is incredibly open and honest about how she coped - alcohol, drugs, sex. She bravely documents how she came to the point where she appeared on live Saturday Night TV covered in bruises - sending a very clear message to her husband at the time. This is uncomfortable to read, for a few reasons. One is that someone very close to me had a similar experience with gaslighting and it's very painful to imagine how she was feeling. Secondly, this is so intimate and I feel like I don't have the right to know this much about someone - but, I can see how it would be both cathartic for Mel to say it all out loud and also helpful for other women going through the same. This isn't in chronological order, it jumps all over the place - a result, as Mel says, of her ADHD. She thinks of one story and goes off on a tangent to another - but it all comes together in the end. I respect her hugely for taking herself out of the relationship and seeking help, and I hope she is much happier now. I also thought it was incredibly courageous to include a chapter from her eldest daughter, Phoenix, about how the relationship affected her. At the back of the book, Mel has included a list that a friend of hers gave her. She says she wants people to share it, so I'm including it here: 15 Signs of Domestic Abuse: 1. Tells you that you can never do anything right. 2. Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away. 3. Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members. 4. Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs. 5. Controls every penny spent in the household. 6. Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses. 7. Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you. 8. Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do. 9. Prevents you from making your own decisions. 10. Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children. 11. Prevents you from working or attending school. 12. Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets. 13. Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons. 14. Pressures you to have sex when you don't want to or do things sexually you're not comfortabe with. 15. Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.If you recognise anything on that list, please don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't go through it on your own, you deserve better.
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  • Amy Westgarth
    January 1, 1970
    I can't review this without mentioning that it was riddled with typos. The most glaring being the date of Geri leaving the Spice Girls as being 1988 (their first single was 1996) and Sporty Spice being called Sport Spice. Two real facepalm moments. I can let Mel off as she tells us she is dyslexic and hey she's a singer not an author, but whoever was in charge of proof-reading should be fired. Anyway the book is basically a memoir based on her time with husband Stephen Belafonte, what was going I can't review this without mentioning that it was riddled with typos. The most glaring being the date of Geri leaving the Spice Girls as being 1988 (their first single was 1996) and Sporty Spice being called Sport Spice. Two real facepalm moments. I can let Mel off as she tells us she is dyslexic and hey she's a singer not an author, but whoever was in charge of proof-reading should be fired. Anyway the book is basically a memoir based on her time with husband Stephen Belafonte, what was going on in her life during that decade and some context about her upbringing and previous relationships that led her to Stephen. Mel jumps straight into the story as she attempts to take her own life one night. A pretty gripping start which I thought would be followed by how she got to that point. But there then followed 3 or 4 chapters of her telling us about filming The X Factor at the time and how this is such a horrible story but she's determined to tell us everything, don't believe what you read in the papers, here it is, I'm going to share the whole story, watch out, here it comes... Well... where is then?? It took a while to get going which was frustrating if you're not up to date on the tabloid speculation so haven't actually heard the rumours she is saying aren't true. I knew she had got divorced recently but didn't know much beyond that. She did get into it properly eventually, after telling us about her first husband and short-lived relationship with Eddie Murphy (who sounds like a total a-hole freak btw -- despite repeated pronouncements that he is the love of her life, he does not come off well in this book). I enjoyed the background of her life in Leeds and how determined she was to make it big. I gather there is more still to learn in her original life story Catch a Fire: The Autobiography. What Mel said about abusive relationships was also worth a read and should definitely be a cautionary tale. However the book was largely all over the place and dashed back and forth between current and past events. I would have preferred a more straightforward timeline as there was a lot going on which was sometimes difficult to follow. I suppose that reflects Mel's whirlwind life, but the average reader is mostly left to piece it together themselves. Still, as with all celebrity memoirs it was fascinating to peek behind the curtain and I got through this fairly quickly. I didn't have much of an opinion on Mel B before but now I can't help thinking she's something of a national treasure. She came off well in this and hopefully the writing experience has provided her with some closure.
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  • Eden
    January 1, 1970
    I was 7 years old when the Spice Girls took the world by storm with their music and individuality. Those 5 women who screamed, "Girl Power!" were my role models growing up. Flawed but in my opinion, great role models. I will forever be proud to call myself a fan.Melanie B was always my favorite. She was loud and in your face. Her love of leopard and camouflage, which I also love. I remember wishing I looked like her; her beautiful brown skin and wonderfully curly hair. Melanie has always come ac I was 7 years old when the Spice Girls took the world by storm with their music and individuality. Those 5 women who screamed, "Girl Power!" were my role models growing up. Flawed but in my opinion, great role models. I will forever be proud to call myself a fan.Melanie B was always my favorite. She was loud and in your face. Her love of leopard and camouflage, which I also love. I remember wishing I looked like her; her beautiful brown skin and wonderfully curly hair. Melanie has always come across as a strong and powerful woman, which I have always loved about her.But even the strong can be vulnerable. After her devasting break-up with Eddie Murphy, Melanie was very vulnerable. And unfortunately, there are many who prey on people in their times of weakness. This is what happened to Melanie. I've experienced this as well and usually, we don't see it at first. We're blind to what's happening. You know something isn't right; you know you are no longer who you used to be. You don't know what to do. It often feels like you are going crazy.Melanie basically went through Hell. It broke her. It damaged her. But slowly, she is healing. And it took so much courage for her to share her story. I have always loved her and I think I do even more now. I relate to a lot of things she has been through as I've had similar experiences.Melanie is a fierce and strong woman. She is famous. And one thing this book shows is that anyone can get into a toxic relationship. We are all weak at times. We're only human and we're flawed. We make mistakes. But Melanie has shown that it is also possible to get out of a bad situation. It is possible to heal.A heartbreaking yet also empowering book. She is a Warrior woman. Much respect to Melanie for being brave enough to share her story.
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  • Julie Reynolds
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to read this as it’s a powerful autobiography of a woman who was brutalised to the point when she was emotionally and mentally broken.It made me cry at some points and made me cross at others that someone can destroy someone else intentionally.I would urge people to read it.
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  • Rose McClelland
    January 1, 1970
    My vlog review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbZ3T...
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Having grown up with the Spice Girls and now, being older, fully aware of her time in the spotlight and the media coverage, I was intrigued about this new autobiography. I had already read Mel B's first book, 'Catch a Fire', and saw this available on my e-reader. I'm certainly glad I read this as the honesty of Mel B is remarkable, plus her the strength as an independent woman and mother.One way that I would describe this autobiography is that it reads a bit like a jumbled therapy session. Mel B Having grown up with the Spice Girls and now, being older, fully aware of her time in the spotlight and the media coverage, I was intrigued about this new autobiography. I had already read Mel B's first book, 'Catch a Fire', and saw this available on my e-reader. I'm certainly glad I read this as the honesty of Mel B is remarkable, plus her the strength as an independent woman and mother.One way that I would describe this autobiography is that it reads a bit like a jumbled therapy session. Mel B explains quite early on in the book that she has been diagnosed with ADHD and justifies her erratic and energetic behaviour. Yet, this has also been reflected in the way her story is narrated. Not in chronological order at all, I found Mel B continuously going off on another tangent before eventually returning, many, many pages later, back to her original story. I normally do not have a problem with this however, it is so erratic that I did find myself slightly confused about the timeline of events. Coupled with the fact that she does repeat certain ideas and explanations more than once, I felt that this ruined my understanding of the story. In my opinion, her story could have been executed far better if it had been chronological, like a traditional autobiography, thereby revealing the extent of her marriage traumas and the increasing tension in her life.Based on this jumpy narrative, I did find it helpful to have read her first book. Mel B's first book naturally covered more detail in her earlier life and career, (so if you are wanting the story of the Spice Girls, then 'Brutally Honest' will not fulfil this,) which meant that as she overlaps again in this newer book, I remembered previous stories. This helped me overcome the erratic nature of her narrative and the massive jumping around that Mel B does.This autobiography is certainly a message of female empowerment. You cannot help but feel proud of how Mel B has overcome so many troubles and how, through it all, she is there for her children. At times I felt the read was voyeuristic and her dark days married to Stephen did make me feel uncomfortable. Yet, this is merely a glimpse into what Mel B experienced and, from the beginning, she wants her readers to recognise the darkness of domestic violence and the corrosive nature it has on the woman and those around her.A frank narrative with shocking reveals, there were many elements that I did not know about Mel B. Certainly her time with Eddie Murphy was an eye-opener but, her marriage to Stephen was ultimately the most emotional part of the story. It is one that runs throughout the autobiography and reflects the emotional impact it has had on Mel B. I was shocked with her revelations - she is definitely brutally honest - and I applaud her for facing up to her demons.The autobiography finishes on hope. Hope for Mel B and her daughters, and also hope for women who have experienced similar relationships. I know that I will perceive Mel B in a totally different light from having read this autobiography and feel that some of her stories will continue to haunt me for many days after completing this read. It is a powerful narrative and a confession of sorts, perhaps something you would not expect from powerful Scary Spice, who has donned the walls of many whilst growing up.
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  • Florine
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not going to lie, it was actually quite interesting - I knew Mel B from the Spice Girls, and America's Got Talent, but didn't know (or care) about her personal life. I picked it up because it was on a 2 for 1 in Audible. She really is brutally honest, and it was quite moving to hear her raw like that. The horrible abusive relationship she was in is the main 'plot', but she gives context, from her previous relationships, her mental health, her childhood, her parents.You get a good idea of who I'm not going to lie, it was actually quite interesting - I knew Mel B from the Spice Girls, and America's Got Talent, but didn't know (or care) about her personal life. I picked it up because it was on a 2 for 1 in Audible. She really is brutally honest, and it was quite moving to hear her raw like that. The horrible abusive relationship she was in is the main 'plot', but she gives context, from her previous relationships, her mental health, her childhood, her parents.You get a good idea of who she is, and how she got to be in that relationship. She often makes references to women who may be in the same relationships, to make sure they understand they can leave. Obviously, with a job & money, it is probably easier to leave...The book itself is a bit messy, lots of back and forth, some inconsistencies, but at the end of the day, the message is there, and I'm sure it can help seeing that it doesn't only happens to others.The Audible narrator is great (even though it's not Mel).
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  • Jade aka MrsTosh
    January 1, 1970
    To be brutally honest, I have never been a huge fan of Mel B. I always found her just a little too much in your face and loud. Knowing that a woman so strong and fierce can be manipulated and abused by someone who is suppose to love and cherish her is an real eye opener and I am sure this book will speak to the millions of women and men living out there who have to deal with these bullies and on a daily basis. She definitely doesn't hold anything back, thought I sense there is a great deal missi To be brutally honest, I have never been a huge fan of Mel B. I always found her just a little too much in your face and loud. Knowing that a woman so strong and fierce can be manipulated and abused by someone who is suppose to love and cherish her is an real eye opener and I am sure this book will speak to the millions of women and men living out there who have to deal with these bullies and on a daily basis. She definitely doesn't hold anything back, thought I sense there is a great deal missing from the book.She has picked her way through many harrowing times and put them on paper, especially her relationship with her oldest Daughter Phoenix, who has obviously also suffered through Mel's horrendous 10 year marriage.Here's hoping she finds the closure she needs and other people benefit from this book.
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  • Nicola Priestley
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this more than I expected I was never a big fan of the Spice Girls but I decided to read this based on my job which involves women in abusive relationships.Melanie is open, honest and an extremely strong woman, destroyed by several men in her life. I'm so glad she finally got away from that man and is rebuilding her life with her girls.We are too quick to judge celebrities and their lives and we all should (me included) think before we criticise others and think there is often more to it Enjoyed this more than I expected I was never a big fan of the Spice Girls but I decided to read this based on my job which involves women in abusive relationships.Melanie is open, honest and an extremely strong woman, destroyed by several men in her life. I'm so glad she finally got away from that man and is rebuilding her life with her girls.We are too quick to judge celebrities and their lives and we all should (me included) think before we criticise others and think there is often more to it than we know.I hope other women in abusive relationships are able to take some strength from Melanie's story as women in these relationships often don't actually realise they are being abused for a long time, after the damage is done. I see this most days in my job and I belive only the person themselves can decide when to end the relationship. Worryingly though, this is the most riskiest time for domestic abuse.Good luck Mel, you deserve to meet a gentleman who loves you for who you are!! 😁
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  • Elizabeth Dolin
    January 1, 1970
    Actually really very well written - I thought the narrative was well paced and supported by lots of little industry gossip nuggets!
  • Rosie
    January 1, 1970
    WOW what a book! Like everyone else, I remember Mel B from her days of scary spice in the spice girls and Girl Power, so I was intrigued to read this book. Initally I thought the book was a bit flippy - eg. look at me I am a dancer , I am so good at what I do etc etc, but as the book progressed I developed a empathy with Mel. She has definately taken some knock backs in her time and to divulge some of the material in her book, must have been painful for her, The relationship with her father was WOW what a book! Like everyone else, I remember Mel B from her days of scary spice in the spice girls and Girl Power, so I was intrigued to read this book. Initally I thought the book was a bit flippy - eg. look at me I am a dancer , I am so good at what I do etc etc, but as the book progressed I developed a empathy with Mel. She has definately taken some knock backs in her time and to divulge some of the material in her book, must have been painful for her, The relationship with her father was interesting and I admit to crying on his demise and the letter he wrote to Mel. I am so glad Mel has opened up about her life and hopefully by doing this it will help other people in her situation. I do however hope there is a special place in hell for people like Stephan Belafonte for his treatment of Mel and Phoenix. He is an absolute ratbag!
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  • Lisa-Jaine
    January 1, 1970
    This book really was brutally honest as Mel B speaks about her abusive relationship. Mel is such a strong woman and it really does show that domestic abuse can affect anyone in any situation or level in life.Sadly as with the majority of books which highlight domestic abuse, she is almost apologetic for the fact she stayed so long and explains why she didn't leave sooner. This NEVER has to be explained or apologised for. People should stop shaming these survivors. Each is going through their own This book really was brutally honest as Mel B speaks about her abusive relationship. Mel is such a strong woman and it really does show that domestic abuse can affect anyone in any situation or level in life.Sadly as with the majority of books which highlight domestic abuse, she is almost apologetic for the fact she stayed so long and explains why she didn't leave sooner. This NEVER has to be explained or apologised for. People should stop shaming these survivors. Each is going through their own personal hell and we should congratulate those that manage to extract themselves from that situation and move forward not asking what took them so long!For each woman that speaks up and refuses to stay silent I thank you all.
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  • Shelly Boltz-Zito
    January 1, 1970
    Brutally RawWhat a gut wrenching book. I cried during most of it. Melanie packs a he'll of a story but it's been a hell of a life. This is a woman I admired and thought she had everything and the best of life. Truth shall set you free. Being a abused wife myself, I know all the signs so reliving that through this book was incredibly hard and there were times I had to put it down and stop. But I am thankful that she had the courage to get this done and start her life over and be the mom her child Brutally RawWhat a gut wrenching book. I cried during most of it. Melanie packs a he'll of a story but it's been a hell of a life. This is a woman I admired and thought she had everything and the best of life. Truth shall set you free. Being a abused wife myself, I know all the signs so reliving that through this book was incredibly hard and there were times I had to put it down and stop. But I am thankful that she had the courage to get this done and start her life over and be the mom her children deserve. My heart, prayers and love to put to a remarkable woman who got sucked into a terrifying experience and was able to recover and come away with her life and love. There is a special place in hell for abusers and I pray one day they all get what they deserve. May Melanie now have the life she and her children deserve. Book packs a wallup!
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  • Debra Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    A very useful read for people trying to understand the power of our history, in influencing adult relationships. Wanting to be loved but confusing love with abusive use of power, control and sex, is a central theme. Mel B is wanting to help others with her story and I think she will shed some useful light.The book wasn’t incredibly well written but it was very engaging.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly, I overlooked the spelling errors and scrappy writing in this one. Though not the most well written or prosaic of books, for anyone who has ever wanted details on how show business is a double edged sword, both protecting and exposing you, this one is a landfill of information. But the message in this novel, the staggering amount of abuse and put simply, torture, this woman has experienced is what brings it to new level of insight and admiration for me. Raised in a strict household Surprisingly, I overlooked the spelling errors and scrappy writing in this one. Though not the most well written or prosaic of books, for anyone who has ever wanted details on how show business is a double edged sword, both protecting and exposing you, this one is a landfill of information. But the message in this novel, the staggering amount of abuse and put simply, torture, this woman has experienced is what brings it to new level of insight and admiration for me. Raised in a strict household in Leeds driven exclusively by her father, Melanie, through sheer force of will and stubbornness reached levels of fame in the Spice Girls that even she herself couldn’t have expected. She is a biracial child, from slave and working stock, in a climate still battling colour diversity and racial strain in 90’s Britain. She writes about her relationships with hindsight and the kind of self awareness that only comes from rising from the flames of suffering, flames that she is still battling through. This auto biography spans decades, but focuses mostly on her family and her marriages, if not only to highlight a pattern of men with devastating control issue like her father, and her anecdote about the boiled frog. A frog sits in warm water, content. As the water heats up, the frog is unaware until it is too late to jump out. Thus, the frog is boiled to death. Domestic violence works in the same way; a slow trap of ignored red flags, slowly snapping around your weakest parts and deepest desires, until you are mentally too confused and physically battered to extract yourself. What I love about this book is her lack of apology for her humanism; she isn’t perfect and she knows it. She manages not only to reinforce the gratitude she has for what fame and money has given her, whilst also being unapologetic about her sex life, the decisions she made under duress, and the traumatic consequences of her marriage to a person I can only consider a monster. Domestic violence and mental abuse is a complicated subject. But her willingness to describe things as they are, not shying away from her coping mechanisms or her mistakes and to inquest into them with only a battle cry to be understood is applause-worthy. What Melanie experienced with her most recent husband was ten years of gut wrenching manipulation and pain. She willingly smashes down the “confident” facade and in her vulnerability, is stronger for it. There is sex-tapes, drugs, denial and reconciliation, all told by a woman who just wanted to be loved, and went looking for it in all the wrong places. Her voice is unmistakably her, still the girl from Leeds who was always too loud, the ADHD kid who couldn’t sit still, the girl that rose to fame in an astonishing and long span of career, the girl who was “scary spice” and “Mel B”, the woman who “got herself pregnant to Eddie Murphy for the money” the girl who talked back to royals and left a pot plant on the doorstep of Elton johns hotel room. She’s also the woman who was called a “whore”, “stupid”, a “slut” and much worse over a decade of marriage. She’s also a woman who believed that at one point. She’s a woman who endured physical and mental beatings, drug abuse and suicide attempts, and still went out on “America’s Got Talent” as if nothing happened. She’s a natural performer, an attention seeker, a mother and a star. But mostly, what this book has solidified for me, is that she is a woman who has gone through Hell and back, and who is still trudging through the mire of purgatory. And I have absolute faith that like she always has, she will rise again, and the world will be better for it.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    "Brutal" is a good word for reading this. On a technical note, it's unlike any other memoir I've read. It's not written in a chronological way, starting sort of in the middle of the story and jumping back to show how she got there (still not in a straightfoward way, as she moves frequently between her time with the Spice Girls to her childhood to her parents's childhoods to her post-Spice life back to the Spice Girls) and then to the present. I don't mean this as a criticism however. It took me "Brutal" is a good word for reading this. On a technical note, it's unlike any other memoir I've read. It's not written in a chronological way, starting sort of in the middle of the story and jumping back to show how she got there (still not in a straightfoward way, as she moves frequently between her time with the Spice Girls to her childhood to her parents's childhoods to her post-Spice life back to the Spice Girls) and then to the present. I don't mean this as a criticism however. It took me a minute to get the flow of things, as I'm a fairly orderly, chronologically minded person, but it felt completely appropriate for the memoir of a girl who was nicknamed "Wind" as a kid because of how she was always running from place to place. There were a few small details that would take me out of the book, just about all of which come down to the editing. There were a few typos that weren't caught, one or two lines that are repeated throughout (she has a short bit where she talks about her parents divorcing after she bought them a house and her father didn't want to move and it's brought up three times) and each time are brought up like it's new information. Also I was confused by the chronology a few times, and I couldn't figure out if it was down to an editing issue or the format. At one point it says that her daughter met her father on his deathbed, but earlier she had mentioned him coming out to California to stay with her. At another point it mentions being a "family of three" with her (most recent) ex-husband, but at that point she had two children. However, like I said, those were things that were really down to someone in editing taking another pass at the book. The writing was excellent. Compelling, absorbing, and completely heartbreaking. This is not a book if you want to know all about how the Spice Girls were formed. There are some anecdotes on that topic, but this isn't the book for that. This is a book about how a woman who is known around the world for being independent and "scary" could become trapped in a ten year marriage so toxic that she believed she had no escape. She examines her past relationships with men, including her father, in an unflinchingly honest way to detail how her self-esteem got to the point she accepted that type of manipulation and abuse. I thought it took a lot of courage for her to admit when in past relationships she was to blame or hurt someone (including family and friends), as well as to publicly call out people who hurt her. There's no coy talking around the subject here. There are some fun moments, particularly when Melanie recounts some of the shenanigans she used to get up to with the Spice Girls. I found it very touching how they have remained part of each other's lives to varying degrees over the years. Melanie said she wrote this book because before her marriage to Stephen Belafonte, she had no idea what the signs of an abusive relationship were or how to recognize gaslighting. She even included a list of the signs in the back of the book because she wants women to have the knowledge to protect themselves before things get as bad as they were for her. I really admire her for it, and am in awe of the strength it took to begin to get her life back. By the end I was crying - a very rare thing for me to do while reading. I heartily recommend giving it a read.
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  • Sean Donnelly
    January 1, 1970
    I've only read two celebrity memoirs this year- this and Lily Allen's- but both are legitimately two of the most harrowing books I've read in the last twelve months. Unvarnished candour and deep introspection seem to have become a trend in the genre, and it's all the better for it. This feels like the memoir of someone with severe ADHD, which is in fact what it is. The narrative skips back and forth over forty years of life, zooming in and out of key moments at breakneck pace. The avoidance of a I've only read two celebrity memoirs this year- this and Lily Allen's- but both are legitimately two of the most harrowing books I've read in the last twelve months. Unvarnished candour and deep introspection seem to have become a trend in the genre, and it's all the better for it. This feels like the memoir of someone with severe ADHD, which is in fact what it is. The narrative skips back and forth over forty years of life, zooming in and out of key moments at breakneck pace. The avoidance of a traditional chronology makes it feel fresh, vivid and intimate. It also conveys the central theme of the books- that emotional abuse is so pervasive and damaging that it blackens and chars everything, even memories. Melanie is incapable of analysing any of her life outside the prism of the relationship which destroyed her sense of self. Everything -her restless childhood as a too-loud, too-black girl in Leeds; her painful relationship with her father; her success as a pop-star- are darkly filtered through the prism of her lost decade with Stephen. The descriptions of how gaslighting and abuse work are disturbing and important, not least because they complicate hackneyed media delineations of spousal abuse which may prevent those in abusive situations from recognising them as such.Like Lily Allen's book, I often found myself cringing, or wondering if Melanie should be admitting this stuff in public. She is open about the fact that she continually exposed her children to dangerous and damaging situations, that she has terrible taste in men, and that she became a reckless drink and drug addict. She often comes across as narcissistic, selfish and impetuous, but she is also impossible not to root for. A force of nature who dropped out of her GCSEs to become a dancer in Blackpool, propelled herself into success through sheer force of will and became unflappably self-confident despite becoming inured to racist abuse throughout her childhood, this book perfectly captures the breathless personality which led to her nickname 'The Wind'. Those looking for a neat or comprehensive Spice history will be disappointed- her life as a pop star is very much at the backdrop here, and the reader's knowledge of the well-worn Spice Girls story is wisely presumed. But the curious will find much to admire in a book which touches on British racial politics, the painful alienation of female adolescence, and the searing, fuck-everyone ambition that often crystallises among those written off before they even turn eighteen.
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  • Mary Sisney
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not a Spice Girls fan, nor do I watch "America's Got Talent," but I'm a "Dancing with the Stars" fan, and Mel B was one of my favorite contestants. If I'm not mistaken, she was the one who started pinching host Tom B's rear end, leading her partner Maks C to continue the practice in later shows. I also knew that Mel had an interesting life, given the baby with Eddie Murphy and then the reports of domestic violence with her ex-husband and father of her third child. I found the Eddie Murphy se I'm not a Spice Girls fan, nor do I watch "America's Got Talent," but I'm a "Dancing with the Stars" fan, and Mel B was one of my favorite contestants. If I'm not mistaken, she was the one who started pinching host Tom B's rear end, leading her partner Maks C to continue the practice in later shows. I also knew that Mel had an interesting life, given the baby with Eddie Murphy and then the reports of domestic violence with her ex-husband and father of her third child. I found the Eddie Murphy section of her book the most interesting because I'm more interested in the talented comedian than I am in the con artist, no-talent abuser. I wasn't surprised to learn that Eddie was a little nuts and liked to live large, but I was surprised to learn how much he loved his family (especially his children, his mother, and now late brother). I actually liked the somewhat arrogant Eddie more after I read Mel's story, and I would like to hear his version of what happened between them. I'm not quite as fond of Mel now as I was before I read the book. I'm sympathetic to her suffering as a mixed race child with an abusive black father and to her problems in school. And I like that she's loud and occasionally inappropriate. However, I'm not as sympathetic to her defensiveness about being called a bad mother. I appreciate that she doesn't want to be a bad mother, but a woman who drinks and blacks out around her children is a bad mother. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother was a high-strung drama queen, but I always appreciated that he was the drunk, and she never drank. I think having an alcoholic (or just occasionally drunk) mother is much worse than the situation I endured. Also, of course, she should have realized how much damage being around the abusive Stephen was causing her daughters, especially the oldest. She may not have meant to be a bad mother, but she was one.
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  • Anthony
    January 1, 1970
    Melanie Brown (2018) BRUTALLY HONESTLondon. Quadrille Publishing⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 out of 5 stars The sleeve reads, “The tell-all memoir from the loudest, proudest Spice Girl - and the truth behind the headlines. As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on X Factor and America's Got Talent, Melanie Brown, a.k.a Scary Spice, has been an international star since her twenties. Brutally Honest is an expose of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and success. With deep personal insig Melanie Brown (2018) BRUTALLY HONESTLondon. Quadrille Publishing⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 out of 5 stars The sleeve reads, “The tell-all memoir from the loudest, proudest Spice Girl - and the truth behind the headlines. As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on X Factor and America's Got Talent, Melanie Brown, a.k.a Scary Spice, has been an international star since her twenties. Brutally Honest is an expose of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and success. With deep personal insight, remarkable frankness and trademark Yorkshire humour, the book removes the mask of fame and reveals the true story behind the Spice Girls, as well as the horror of her most recent marriage and her 10 year struggle to be free.”Autobiography number two from Melanie B a.k.a. Melanie Brown a.k.a. Mel B a.k.a. Scary Spice a.k.a. My favouritest Spice Girl… And, blimey… This wasn't a easy read. Not even slightly… It was tough reading is what it was. Definitely brutal. Unapologetically honest. Jesus. What you might think you know from what you may have read in the tabloids and crap celebrity magazines is not a fair reflection on what was actually happening… What was actually happening was really, really, much, much worse. This is a testament to the shit storm domestic abuse can render you in. Closing the book was quite cathartic (hopefully I am using this word in the right context) and somewhat overwhelming. You wind up thinking about your relationships. I have the realisation that I had a lucky escape from my ex. The signs were there and they were mounting. Thank God for an earlier finish. #MelanieBrown #BrutallyHonest #MelanieBrownBrutallyHonest #MelanieB #MelB #Scary #ScarySpice #SpiceGirls
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  • Kevin Loder
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a brutal read. I listened to the audiobook (Mel B speaks the intro, but the narrator sounds very similar), which is the only way I believe I would've finished this book. If you think/expect that just because she's famous that she has had an entirely fabulous life...you're in for a shock.It held my interest for awhile, but after awhile, I just didn't want to learn any more TMI about Mel B's terrible ex. Part of the struggle of listening to this was - what time of day do I want to hear t Wow, what a brutal read. I listened to the audiobook (Mel B speaks the intro, but the narrator sounds very similar), which is the only way I believe I would've finished this book. If you think/expect that just because she's famous that she has had an entirely fabulous life...you're in for a shock.It held my interest for awhile, but after awhile, I just didn't want to learn any more TMI about Mel B's terrible ex. Part of the struggle of listening to this was - what time of day do I want to hear this drama? Not the best thing for the morning or before bed. I was more interested in the spice girls details, and the bits about her family and x factor were good too. One of the major topics of her story is her experience with Eddie Murphy. This is one of the most extreme broken heart break ups you'll ever read about, and it's a miracle Mel B made it through. She exposes how much of a hot mess she was throughout her career. All her drama out on the table, I see the story as a celebrity examples that "life goes on" after tragedy and that Mel B is a fighter. I liked the book, but for me it was a bit too long. I will say the book is well worded, and the narrator is good. Did you know that Mel B isn't the only author - Louise Gannon did a great job. The audio book has an hour long interview between them at the end about writing the book. The other spice girl memoirs are for Victoria Beckham (2005) and Geri Halliwell (1999). Probably won't read these since they are outdated now. I'd like to see Mel C write a memoir!
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