Review: This Time Round by Ray Quinn

Tuesday 4 August 2015
Title: This Time Round
Author: Ray Quinn
Publisher: Percy Publishing
Publication Date: 4th March 2015
Pages: 188
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
They say it's all about timing. We,, the time has come for me to stand back and take a look at my life so far - where I've been, what I've achieved, and where I want to go in the future.

I've been blessed with a full and coloruful career so far, covering TV, theatre, dancing, singing and skating. Now 26, I intend to focus on my greatest passion - music. If I've learned anything so far, it's that life doesn't wait for anyone; you have to take control of your own destiny.

This is the story of how I grew up in Liverpool, with my acting and dancing days, and how I coped with the overwhelming demands of the X Factor and Dancing on Ice. Much of that story was ignored by the media: a lot that people don't know.

'This Time Round' is something of a cautionary tale. Maybe reading about my own highs and lows will enlighten some of you who want to become part of the entertainment industry - all those who dare to dream.

I grew up watching Brookside, it's probably one of my favourite programmes of all-time and I remember watching The X Factor one night with my Mum when we both instantly recognised Ray Quinn; a somewhat more grown-up version than the kid from Brookside. Little did my Mum know that she would go on to spend a small fortune voting for Ray week on week, and then again on Dancing On Ice (twice)! I've since saw Ray in shops and in public but have never managed to get his autograph for my Mum, one day!

This Time Round is very much written by Ray, and in his voice. It is always refreshing to read an autobiography written in the person's own voice as opposed to some ghostwriter swooping in with fancy words and phrases. The general reaction from most people when a young person writes their life story is what could they possibly have to say. Some might say why would Ray Quinn write a book? Well, I say give it a chance, read it and then give me your opinion. Ray was a teenager when he auditioned for X Factor and as a runner-up he was pretty much promised the world, and a very successful career in the music business and so he very quickly and readily signed the contract put before him, not realising until it was too late that the celebrity lifestyle he quickly found himself living was in fact being paid for by him.

I remember seeing Ray on X Factor and wondered how it was allowed. Was he the first person to audition who had already been in the public eye? I think he was 'famous' to me because he was a local lad. It does seem to be quite commonplace across the various talent shows today but it's only in the little stories that Ray tells in this book that makes you wonder whether there was more to him finding his way onto the show than him simply sending off an application form. And almost ten years on the public has wised up to the actual reality of 'reality' TV. It's crazy to read a story like this and realise that Ray is only a couple of years older than me, and even with all of the lows that he's had, the highs more than make up for it and he's lived a life already that most of us only fantasise about. And that's one of the real messages to take from the book. It's an honest and insightful look into the entertainment industry, and there's some great advice for youngsters who have similar dreams to Ray to take on board.

At 188 pages it's significantly less than the 500 quoted on Amazon and I did wish that certain sections had been longer, for example his time on Brookside and Dancing On Ice but there are some brilliant stories throughout, and I especially love the way he spoke about his parents and his Nan. Also I liked how there was a greater amount of pictures than your average autobiography. Ray is likeable throughout the whole book, and I liked how he never came across as hateful or bitter. Instead he's very analytical and honest about the whole thing, allowing the reader to really see the bigger picture. Ray has worked hard to achieve his dreams and has faced plenty of knock-backs and received some bad advice but reading the book it's clear that he's determined to once again work hard to achieve his dreams and I hope that he does.

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