I know I said I was going to wait to post until after I’d consigned some clothes on Saturday, but I changed my mind. I got Zayn’s autobiography yesterday. I read Zayn’s autobiography yesterday. So today, let’s talk about what I thought about Zayn’s autobiography.
I’ll start by saying that I love it. It isn’t the tell-all exposé that some people were hoping for, but honestly I think that if that was your expectation then you were deluding yourself. Zayn might not be hushed up in One Direction anymore, with a zillion industry professionals speaking for him, but he’s still Zayn. It was never going to be an exposé, guys. There were some revelations, though. As I’m sure some of you have seen in the headlines already, he talks about his anxiety, clarifies how his 2015 departure from One Direction went down from his perspective, and discusses his past experiences with an eating disorder.
Beyond these more serious topics, he also talks about his creative process while writing his first solo album “Mind of Mine”, bonding with his new all-female management team, and his burgeoning interest in fashion.
One thing that I love about this book is that it reads like a blog. He just tells different stories that have happened in his life. They’re organized into a loose timeline of the almost two years since he left One Direction (March 25, 2015), through the release of Mind of Mine (side eye — March 25, 2016) and into the present day with some hopes for the future.
I love that he starts the section on fashion with, “I love this coat” and a photo. It felt like such a fashion blog moment. He goes on to describe his creative style growing up, the sartorial shyness that came from being a public figure and a teenager at the same time, and then his decision to get more involved in fashion as part of his solo career. He explains how honored and excited he was to be invited to the 2016 Met Gala with Versace and how he and his stylist favor vintage styles and interesting pieces that satisfy Zayn’s interest in art.
I also love his discussion of the prominent role of women in his life. He talks about his reluctance to sign with a new management group until he met with his current team; he explains that he was drawn to them because it’s an all-female team and he believes that his life and development has been strongly influenced by the women in his life. He calls women, “the most intelligent, peaceful and positive influences in [his] life.” With what I consider to be slightly surprising thoughtfulness, he is careful not to do too much generalizing when discussing gender, and also mostly avoids the trap of benevolent sexism. He talks candidly about his discomfort with the ideals of masculinity, especially the expectation that men stifle any emotional vulnerability. Don’t get me wrong, Zayn Malik is no feminist scholar; it isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it is a relief to hear a man my age talk about gender in a way that didn’t make my skin crawl.
Overall, I think this book is sincere and charming, and I admire his ability to touch on difficult topics with honesty. His writing has a self-deprecating flavor with a palpable need to avoid being misunderstood, which makes it feel more relatable to me. It’s missing any mention of his romance with Gigi Hadid, which was disappointing for me as I’m fascinated by their relationship, and the book was probably finalized before his upcoming partnership with Versus Versace was announced, so we didn’t get to hear anything more about that either. Of course, I would’ve loved more information about his relationships with the 1D boys, before and after leaving the band, but if I’m being objective I know it was a classier move to talk about them only vaguely and with respect. The stories about his writing and recording process were interesting and fun, and I can’t wait to see what he does next!
P.S. This is my favorite part of the book:
I just think the “Promise.” part is adorable.