Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Book of Joan

The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers was a delight to read! I imagine that writing the book after her mother's death was a cathartic experience for Rivers which has given us, Joan's fans, the chance to celebrate and appreciate an inside view of the woman who had such an impact on comedy, television, fashion and the "pre-game" world of red carpet celebrity interviewing.

The book is an amalgam of memories from Melissa's life with her mom. She states at the outset, "In our family we always laughed our way through pain, so I decided to write a book that would have made her laugh." The stories Rivers shares about life with her famous mother vary widely from home and family to career and everything in-between. Each of them made me at least smile, if not laugh aloud so that my husband kept asking, "What now?" (He is getting handed my copy of the book as soon as this review is done. Somewhere about 20 pages in I finally began answering his question not with a recap, but instead with "You're just going to have to read it yourself!")

I must add that I really enjoyed the memorabilia and photos that are included in the book. Bambi, Trixie, Roxie, Bubbles, Kitten and Bang-Bang--you ladies look maaaaah-velous! I want to go on record as saying that I think Joan was beautiful as a baby, girl, and young woman. The footnotes along the way are a hoot as well!

I am now armed with very practical words of wisdom for heading into my next job interview, the next flight I take, sitting through sporting events I don't understand, etc. Easy, conversational, full of moments that leave the impression you've just spent time with Joan herself. I loved it!

Thanks to Blogging For Books for the free copy I received in exchange for this review!

From the Publisher . . .

Joan Rivers was known all over the world—from the Palace Theater to Buckingham Palace, from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the footlights of Broadway, from the days of talkies to hosting talk shows. But there was only one person who knew Joan intimately, one person who the authorities would call when she got a little out of hand. Her daughter and best friend, Melissa.

Joan and Melissa Rivers had one of the most celebrated mother-daughter relationships of all time. If you think Joan said some outrageous things to her audiences as a comedian, you won’t believe what she said and did in private. Her love for her daughter knew no bounds—or boundaries, apparently. (“Melissa, I acknowledge that you have boundaries. I just choose to not respect them.”) In The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation, Melissa shares stories (like when she was nine months old and her parents delivered her to Johnny Carson as a birthday gift), bon mots (“Missy, is there anything better than seeing a really good looking couple pushing a baby that looks like a Sasquatch who got caught in a house fire?”), and life lessons from growing up in the Rosenberg-Rivers household (“I can do tips and discounts and figure out the number of gay men in an audience to make it a good show. That’s all the math you’ll ever need.”). These were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to life in the family that Melissa describes as more Addams than Cleaver. And at the center of it all was a tiny blond force of nature.

In The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation, Melissa Rivers relates funny, poignant and irreverent observations, thoughts, and tales about the woman who raised her and is the reason she considers valium one of the four basic food groups.

About the Author . . .

MELISSA RIVERS was born in New York City and grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in European history. Melissa’s extensive television background includes working as a features reporter for CBS This Morning; being a regular contributor to MTV’s Hanging with MTV; serving as a television host and producer for the E! network and as a host for TV Guide Channel’s event programming; and, most recently, as a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice. She lives in Los Angeles with her son, Cooper.

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