Tuesday, October 20, 2009

REVIEW: Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, by Kathy Griffin

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, by Kathy Griffin. Published 2009 by Ballantine Books. Nonfiction. Memoir.

Click here to buy Official Book Club Selection via IndieBound.org. I am an IndieBound affiliate and receive a percentage of the proceeds of sales.

You gotta love Kathy Griffin. Okay, you don't have to, but it's really easy if you try.

I've been a fan of hers for a while but it wasn't until I started watching her Bravo reality show, My Life on the D-List, that I really learned to love her. Then I read her tell-all memoir, Official Book Club Selection, and now I just love her more.

I started reading it basically as soon as I got it home the day it was published and blew through it in under a week. I'm not a fast reader like some of you- I don't read 10 books a day (or even a month!)- so that's saying a lot. And what it's saying is, I really enjoyed the book.

She talks about everything- or just about, from her childhood in an Irish Catholic family in Chicago, her early days in Hollywood, her marriage, her plastic surgery and liposuction (including photos), her relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and more. And it's not all laughs. There's some serious stuff here, about her late brother Kenny, about sexism and body-dysmorphic Hollywood, about her relationship with her ex-husband. I was actually surprised at how little of the funny there was. Which is not to say it's not entertaining- it's just not exactly the book I was expecting.

My favorite Kathy-being-Kathy anecdote was the story of her now-infamous acceptance speech the year she first won an Emmy for D-List, when she said something about a certain beloved-by-millions religious figure. As she approached the podium to give her acceptance speech, she says,
I felt an anticipation like 'Uh-oh, what's she gonna say'? Which I loved. I took a second to recover a little bit because I wanted to do Eric's speech justice. I didn't want to dishonor it by screwing it up. I said it verbatim, and it got a big laugh, and I thought it was awesome.
I love this story because I think it shows some of her best qualities- her professionalism and her loyalty and affection for her friends. And her sense of humor.

And that's what you'll see in the pages of Official Book Club Selection- a woman who's worked hard to make something of herself and who's not afraid to take risks. I love that she shows us the photos from her liposuction and I love how honest she is about the pressures she's faced as a woman trying to make it in Hollywood. I was frankly surprised by her candor with respect to her late brother and her husband, both subjects that must be incredibly personal and painful. If you're a fan of hers, you really need to read her book- it's a quick, fun read and you'll enjoy it. If you're not, you just might be by the time you're finished.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Wow. Thanks for the review. I was curious about it and was guessing it would be kind of fluffy. I am a HUGE fan of hers. I have watched all the episodes of her Bravo show, seen all of her stand ups, loved Suddenly Susan (?) and thinks she is balls to the wall funny!

I will definitely pick it up now knowing that she does tell her life story a bit more.

bermudaonion said...

I neither like nor dislike Kathy Griffin, but I do love memoirs, so I'd probably enjoy this book. It sounds like it would make me like Kathy Griffin too.

Petunia said...

She is so funny. Check out her promo at Borders Shelf Indulgence:

Diane said...

I love memoirs, but can take or leave K.G., however, this is the 3rd great review I've read on this memoir, so I'd like to give it a try. Thanks for the great review.

Lenore said...

What I know of her, she seems very interesting. I'd flip through this if I saw it in a store.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

thanks for this . I might just become a fan...who knows?

Alayne said...

Thanks for the review! I always find her funny whenever I see her on TV, but it's good to know she has a more serious side.

Amy said...

I have a love/hate relationships with Kathy Griffin but I have heard great things about this book.

Life by Candlelight

Care said...

I grew to love Kathy for her Bravo shows - I love that she shows all sides of herself and that she really can be tender and not just for the outrageous joke. I look forward to reading this.

Zibilee said...

I haven't watched her Bravo show, so I only know Kathy Griffin as a stand up comedian. That being said, I do think this book looks interesting and think it would be a really eye-opening read about the more serious sides of her personality, not just the zany comic I am familiar with. I am so glad that you were impressed by the book, I will be looking for it. Thanks!

sanctimommy said...

I've never seen her show, but I've loved her ever since reading some interview with her a few years back when she talked about how the magazines already know who they're going to put on their "best dressed" lists, and it's not gonna be her. So the only thing to do in order to stay relevant is to make the "worst dressed" lists. I thought that was a really interesting observation, and certainly an intelligent one.

I think it's great that she's sort of taken that philosophy and made a career out of it WHILE managing to remain dignified. Because even though her shtick is about the indignity of being an older celebrity in Hollywood, it's always on her terms and never crosses whatever invisible boundary into the excrutiatingly embarrassing.

Alexia561 said...

While I'm not a huge fan of Kathy's, I do think she's funny and am glad to hear that her book isn't just another collection of amusing stories.

Great review! Yet another book I've added to my ever-growing wishlist because of you! :D