Fifteen Minutes, by Karen Kingsbury, caused me to think deeply. Zack Dylan is a talented singer and songwriter who promises that nothing can change his devotion to God, family, and his girlfriend. But when he leaves his home on a Kentucky horse farm to compete on the reality TV show Fifteen Minutes, he has no idea how hard it will be to keep that promise. The tentacles of fame and success slowly wrap around him, trap him, and squeeze the life out of him until Zack faces personal disaster. His one champion is Chandra Olson, a diva pop star who is one of the show’s judges. She has been where he is now, and she clearly sees the path to destruction he travels. The question is, will she be able to get through to Zack before it’s too late?
This book is a sobering look at the cost of fame, money, and success, and the misplaced emphasis our society places on them. How many of us have wished we could be rich or famous? We look at the glamor that surrounds movie stars, athletes and performers, and we think ‘Wow! wouldn’t it be great to be like that?’ We think, ‘Our daughter is beautiful and she can sing — let’s enter her in a beauty pageant or a singing contest’, little realizing what the final cost will be. The sad fact is, most stars end up deeply unhappy with broken lives and chemical dependence. I mean, how many actors are still happily married to their first spouse? Children who start down the path to stardom grow up with a skewed sense of reality. There is literally no chance of them having a normal life. The constant pressure to perform, the crushing schedules, the loss of personal quiet time, and the constant temptations around them all lead to self destruction. They lose the core of beliefs that kept them centered and well. Waylon Jennings sang, “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” I could add, Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be famous. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who didn’t let success ruin them, but they sure are hard to find. If you know of any, let me know. I could use a success story today.