Strengths: It’s honest on multiple fronts – from his relationship with Kylie Minogue to drug use.
Weaknesses: I would have loved to read some more about the making of Ten Good Reasons – all I read was what was in Smash Hits and TV Hits!
Why I read it: I was a fan of his music as a youngster.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 8 out of 10
If you liked this, try: Kylie, Dannii and Jason were all linked in my mind as a youngster, so try Dannii Minogue’s My Story.
When I was about 7 or 8, Jason Donovan (along with Kylie Minogue) was all the rage in Australia. Despite being an avid Home and Away watcher, I tuned in to Neighbours to watch their characters, Scott and Charlene marry. I had the Jason: The Official Magazine. I even had his debut album, Ten Good Reasons on LP (that’s a big black CD that you can’t skip or shuffle, kids) and knew all the words to hits such as Too Many Broken Hearts, Nothing Can Divide Us and the duet with Kylie, Especially for You. I played Kylie and Jason games with my friends (I knew they were together!). So what happened?
I grew up. And so did Jason.
Reading this book as an adult was a bit of a trip down Memory Lane (see also my review of Dannii Minogue’s My Story) into all those things that had innocently passed me by in my youth. If 7 year old kids were madly keen on Jason even though they didn’t watch his show, he must have been pretty popular. And he was. Perhaps Jason was the Justin Beiber of my generation?
In this autobiography, Jason talks candidly about his rise to fame from average Aussie household to household name on what became a world-popular soap. How manufactured pop became a sort of symbol for the late 80s/early 90s (Kylie, Jason, Dannii, Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2, Jo Beth Taylor, the Blakeney twins, even Stefan Dennis had a turn so I’m told) and Stock Aitken Waterman became The Hit Factory. Jason knew though that 7 and 8 year olds grow up and discard the idols of their youth (me, I moved on to New Kids on the Block) and it appears that he wasn’t the squeaky clean surfer boy his image suggested. Jason was getting in deeper and deeper with drugs – first marijuana, then cocaine and other drugs.
A significant part of the book is Jason’s case with The Face – suing them for saying he was gay. (He’s not). It appeared that he attributed some of what went on – the fall from grace, the increasing drug use to the toll it took on him personally.
Fortunately, this story has a saving grace in the form of Jason’s partner, Ange and their two children. He describes their relationship as being the pivotal point for his becoming clean and return to acting (for example, in the Australian drama MDA).
There are some interesting titbits in this book – Kylie comes across as the sweetest girl out there and Jason turned down a role in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It would be interesting to think how things would be different (if at all) if he had taken that role!
The book is a very easy read, blunt and honest. It did contain one extra that my 7 year old self is rather proud of…
Yes, it’s signed ‘love Jason’. At last.