A VIEW FROM A BROAD by Bette Midler
Kirkus Star


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Her fans will adore it; and, even if you're not a fan--as long as you don't stop to figure out how much you're paying per word (160 pages, lots of them covered with pix and graffiti)--you may get a few laughs from this loose, chutzpahtic assemblage of diaries and such from the Divine Miss M's tour through England, Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, France, and Australia. Bette tells how she was reluctant to tour at first--""The closest thing I ever had to a foreign experience was Ahmet Ertegum, record executive and Turk. Oh, I was truly in a dither""--but finally she decided she'd ""pick up the gauntlet my manager had thrown down and touch the whole earth with my Divinity."" She hired her band. (Her ""band application"" form is included: ""Have you ever physically attacked a performer under whose employ you were at the time?"") She hired a choreographer--who wore extension cords around her neck, being definitely into Punk (""tour jetÉ, step, turn; Katie rip off Linda's wig!""). She hired her backup trio: ""I'll never forget how they looked when I first saw them--so flushed, so filthy."" She chose her Entrance costume: a hot-dog suit (""Let the Philistines spit on my wiener now""). And off she went, no longer ""one scared piece of Divinity"" but rather ""confident as Cleopatra's pussy."" She wowed London with a tribute to Princess Anne (""Such an active lass. So outdoorsy. She loves nature in spite of what it did to her""). She entranced Munich with a singalong: ""Three thousand Germans and one very freaked-out Jewess singing 'Hitler Had Only One Big Ball.'"" And so on, with digressions on chauffeurs, dirty jokes, the Continental Baths, and BM's alter ego Dolores De Lago (""her belief in herself is awesome""). Quite a bit here is quite unfunny, usually when Miss M is being most fanciful: a meeting with a woman marketing ""a hand-painted diaphragm and douche set""; tussles with Bergman-like Vilmos Angst, who wants Bette to star in Thighs and Whispers. But Midler's campy, trampy voice--part drag queen, part Jewish mother, part Perelman--is a bona fide original, with genuine niceness and intelligence lurking beneath the indiscriminate vulgarity; and it comes through loud and clear here, in an erratic mishmash that's a lot less dirty than it might have been, and a lot more fun than Miss M's many non-fans might expect it to be.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1980
Publisher: Simon & Schuster