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DREAMGIRL: My Life as a Supreme by Mary Wilson

DREAMGIRL: My Life as a Supreme


Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's

Only the most devoted fans of the Supremes will not be frustrated by this account of the Cinderella-like rise of the popular singing group. This should have been a fascinating story. Unfortunately, Wilson fails to make us care very much about what were, in fact, intriguing people and events: Diana Ross and her now-legendary temper; the early days of Berry Gordy's Motown empire; the indignities of traveling through the South in the early 60's; how Florence Ballard, the third original Supreme, was raped after a dance, how she died penniless of a heart attack while still a young woman. The problem is that Wilson seems to be torn between being a painfully well mannered young lady and being the sassy, perceptive woman who later emerged. She alternates between letting Ross and Gordy have it right between the eyes and letting her affection for them restrain her. She still insists on calling Ross a ""best friend."" There is an annoying inconsistency, too, in the attention paid to details, It's fun to learn that the ""echo chamber"" in Gordy's early studio was actually the bathroom behind the sound booth. But it's tedious to read more than we need to about the gowns, the limos, and Wilson's romances. At the end, Wilson wonders what happened to the dream of three little gifts from Detroit. She has provided only some of the answers. One wishes for more.