Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrity Detox: The Fame Game by Rosie O'Donnell


That's the thing about fame. If you live like a famous person, you will pay the price. And it's a high price, and a dangerous game, because fame, the drug can sneak up on you in increments. You don't notice the increments, that they're increasing until you're so far away from ever making eye contact with another human being and being "real," that you don't even know you're not "real" anymore.

When O'Donnell's mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1973, ten-year-old Rosie believed that fame could cure her. Though she was still a kid, she had already grasped the cultural connection between talent and money. If she could become famous, the funds would pour in - and buy her mom the miracle cure that could save her life.

Rosie's mother died, but the bond in her daughter's mind between stardom and hope survived, propelling 0'Donnell into a career as a talk show host and passionate philanthropist.

At times funny, at others heartbreaking, but always intensely honest, CELEBRITY DETOX is Rosie's story of the years after she walked away from her top-rated TV show in 2002, and her reasons for going back on the air in 2006. In it, O'Donnell takes you inside the world of talk show TV, speaking candidly about the conflicts and challenges she faced as co-host on ABC's The View. Along the way O'Donnell shows us how fame becomes addiction and explores whether or not it's possible for an addict to safely, and sanely, return to the spotlight. She reveals her everyday interactions with her family, and the pressures of being both an ordinary mom and a "personality." She tells of the lifelong admiration she has had for an entertainment icon and of her complicated friendships with her TV colleagues - and talks openly about some dark passages from her own past.

Chronicling the ups and downs of "the fame game," Rosie O'Donnell illuminates not only what it's like to be a celebrity, but also what it's like to be a mother, a daughter, a leader, a friend, a sister, a wife - in short, a human being.

I came on The View. This is the story of how it all happened, off stage, on stage, how we struggled to make the show, and then so much more than that.

This is an account of what it means to make a show, and a friend, and an enemy, or two. This is about where we went wrong, and right. It's a story about stars and celebrities and one woman - me - going off air four years ago and then trying to re-enter orbit, not knowing if she can. It's the story of wondering whether I could give up the addictive elixir of fame and then go back, wondering if it's possible to sip instead of slug. It's a story about so much - how Barbara Walters started out as a sort of mother, and me a child willing to obey, and where we finally ended up, months later - after all the Trump dump and divisive ways of the world we are in, we have still, and nevertheless, at the very end, we have found a way to talk. We found, I have to hope, a friendship that, like any other friendship, is both compromised and connected.

All of Rosie's net profits from this book are being donated to Rosie's Broadway Kids, a program that brings musical theater to New York City public school children.

My thoughts:
I will admit that this book was a bit of an odd choice for me.  I don't watch a lot of TV and only ever occasionally even saw Rosie's show or The View, but it is interesting to read how someone who seems larger than life sees herself in her own life.  This book, as stated in the synopsis, is about Rosie's decision to go back on TV as a cohost on The View, how she decided to be on the show and then the year she was on the show.  She talks at length about her disagreement with Donald Trump and about when she realized that her joking way of taking as if she were Chinese had actually been hurtful.  More than anything though, it is about how she has missed her mother for years and has yearned to have had the chance to have her in her life now and how she loves her children.  While she is a celebrity, and has more money than many of us could ever imagine having, she still struggles with balancing her life as a mother and her life in her career.  I liked how she recognized that she has an advantage over many mothers in that she has two nanny's along with her wife to help her with her four children.  I enjoyed the narrative parts of the book but was not a big fan of the  blog entries.  Spelling and punctuation are important to me, I know that I still make mistakes in my writing, but I don't care for abbreviations and such like "u" for  "you".  That is just me.  Maybe when I jump into texting I will have a change of heart, but for right now I did not care for those sections. 

One of the items Rosie commented on that was not from her own life was Anna Nicole Smith's death.  Last month I read a book about Anna Nicole so it was interesting to have her pop up here as well.  Rosie places a portion fo the blame for Anna Nicole's demise on the public for siletnly standing by and watching her fall apart and for particiatping in watching it happen.  I recall seeing a tabloid picture of Anna Niciole jumping into the water after her commitment ceremony and thinking it was such a bad idea since you aren't supposed to go swimming for six weeks after the birth of a baby.  (My other worry comes from watching Jaws, woulding the bleeding a woman experiences after birth be a bad thing to be having in ocean water when a shark could come around.  I am sure the shark was a lot less of a concern than the possible infection and othe rcomplications of swimming so soon after birth, but it did cross my mind!)  It seems sometimes like celebrities follow a different set of rules, but maybe it was all for the cameras and Anna Nicole didn't really want to be jumping into salt water but felt like she had to for the cameras filming her life.

I hope that Rosie has been able to find her yellow (her own term for her happiness) and I thought it was wonderful to read that she was donating proceeds from the book to a charity.  I also was really appreciated her willingness to donate to others and to causes she believes in.


Rosie O'Donnell is one of America's favorite celebrities. She was the host of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, one of the most popular shows of the decade, and has also appeared in numerous movies, television sitcoms, comedy specials and, most recently, on Broadway. She was also co-host of The View.

Product Details

Pub. Date: October 2007
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 224pp
ISBN-13: 9780446582247
ISBN: 0446582247

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful review. I've always been a fan of Rosie. I watched a bit of her on the view but overall, from her movies and other things she has done, I always thought she was honest. She never seemed to me to be anything but real. Losing a parent at a young age affects everything and I can understand the drive in her to find those attachments elsewhere in her life. Though barbara walters... I just don't like. :)