The Cost of Fame
By Karen Ballum on May 24, 2012
One of the things Adam Wilde struggles with in Gayle Forman's Where She Went is the isolation that results from his rise to fame. Adam is already struggling with loss and grief when the band makes it big. It can even be said Adam's loss and grief is what drives the band's material. Grief can be isolating by itself but now that Adam's famous, everyone wants a piece of him. Everyone he thought he could turn to has deserted him. Adam is alone.
"I try not to notice that in spite of what Aldous said a few minutes ago, it feels like I'm already on my lonesome. Me alone in a soundproof booth. Don't overthink it, I tell myself. This is how you record in a technologically advanced studio. The only problem is, I felt that way a few nights ago at the Garden. Up onstage, in front of eighteen thousand fans, alongside the people who, once upon a time, were part of my family, I felt as alone as I do in this booth." Page 8
While there are benefits to fame -- and Adam doesn't knock those -- I've always thought fame comes at a cost. I have no doubt it can be fun for awhile and and I'm sure it has some really great moments but it is honestly something that doesn't appeal to me. I'm not sure the fame part really appealed to Adam either. Sure, when things were good he loved being on stage with the band but I thought it was more about the music than anything else. The cost of fame for Adam was losing the joy of both friendship and music.
First Adam lost Mia's family, who were like his own extended family. Then he lost Mia. Then he lost music and the band. When he finds his way back to being able to write songs and when his band welcomes him back there was hope for him -- hope that he might find his to some happiness. But Adam's new music catapulted the band to the top of the charts and with success comes fame. I didn't get the impression that Adam thought he was the reason the band found success. Yes, he wrote the music but they were a band. They were a family. The media saw it another way and when they turned their focus on him the foundations of the band crumbled.
When we meet Adam in Where She Went all this has already happened. He was fragile, lost and alone. He's paid the price for his fame and knows that fame is fleeting. It's not something that you can hold in your hand and control.
Do you think fame comes at a cost? Is it something you ever wanted?
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