HEAR ME OUT – SARAH HARDING

#LizzieReads

Sarah Harding. One fifth of the UK’s most successful girl band, notoriously known as somewhat wayward, off the walls, out of control caricature and party girl. In other words, ‘the crazy one’.

Regardless of this, everyone will have an opinion of someone else, particularly if they are in the public eye and a well-known pop-singer and reality star. It came as a mighty shock when the beautiful and bubbly Sarah Harding revealed she had breast cancer last year in the midst of a global pandemic and lockdown in the UK. This came shortly before the release of her autobiography, and ultimately her legacy, as she recently departed after her brief, painful battle with the disease.

Now, Girls Aloud are probably one of my all-time favourite bands… EVER. Not an understatement. When I was younger, particularly between junior and secondary school, I was OBSESSED with them! Borderline that I researched everything about them (around the time I decided I wanted to be a journalist), with pictures and posters of them dotted around my room!

When I heard Harding was battling breast cancer, I was beyond shocked. This beautiful soul was so young, yet had faced so much grief at the hands of the media. This book is the perfect way for her to clear up any stories and set the record straight on tell-tales.

I demolished this in just over 24 hours, as it is a quick read with a few blank pages and pictures within.

Difficult from a young age, Harding has lived with ADHD her entire life, which is why it may seem that she is a little out of control, over the top and over enthusiastic (as said so by herself). She worked her way around 7 schools and the trouble of her parents splitting up. However, she managed to follow her dreams and passion of becoming a singer.

I was aware of how she rose to fame on Popstars: The Rivals tv show to become a part of Girls Aloud, who broke all odds and did very well for a tv show pop band. However, I was sad to read that she has always felt like she was never good enough, especially due to the uproar of beating the final public favourite, Javine Hylton, and being independent form the other Girls Aloud members.

Despite this, she and the girls continued to do very well. She talks about her ups and downs, particularly the most difficult of all being with her long-time beau Tom Crane, who she was engaged to for a period of time. As a result of the decline of their relationship, she fell into drugs and alcohol; needless to say, she did not have a good relationship with them either.

She talks about struggling with the band’s break, which brought up my own feelings of sadness when I was younger and they announced their break! During this time, she followed more of her passions, including acting (As Roxy in St. Trinian’s 2), as well as taking part in TV shows like Tumble, The Jump and Celebrity Big Brother which she won and was able to reveal her true self instead of through the twisted press.

Harding also took part in the Ghost musical, although I was sad to hear she faced bitchiness from her cast members, where she cleared up she was not exactly fired, but her contract wasn’t renewed.

Throughout the book, she features parts of her experience with fighting cancer in between reflecting on her happier past times. I had to pause at times as she remained so positive, despite her obvious discomfort and struggle to deal with her fight. She reflects on the amazing NHS, her friends, family and small things that make her happy, like cooking a roast chicken: the small things that can mean so much in the most fragile times.

It features Nadine Coyle and Cheryl who discuss their time with Sarah and experience of her going through her cancer battle.

Sarah Harding’s book is not just sorrowful, but motivating and eye-opening. I wasn’t aware she had a double mastectomy towards the latter end of her fight whilst detailing how she swelled up, took many pills and wore freezer caps when going through chemotherapy.

Overall, this makes up a perfect summary of her life and is a great amalgamation of her happiest times and an inspiration for those also facing the same fight, whilst inspiring others to make the most of the small things and the time they do have.

rating – 4/5
genre – autobiography

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