MY SISTER ROSEANNE

THE TRUE STORY OF ROSEANNE BARR ARNOLD

Standard entertainment news, with a sad story and some interesting Barr background, from a sibling with an ax to grind. Roseanne's wounded younger sister Geraldine tells her side of the story, from their childhood in Salt Lake City through their 1990 break-up, with Schwarz (co-author of The Peter Lawford Story, not reviewed, etc.) as literary enabler. ``We'' is a very important pronoun in this book. Roseanne and Geraldine dreamed of becoming the Jewish sisters who took Hollywood. In the early 1980s, empowered by sisterhood and ``Sisterhood,'' Geraldine mapped out a ten-year plan to launch Roseanne to stardom as America's Domestic Goddess. Roseanne was the performer in their sister act; Geraldine ``delighted in being backstage...making the spotlight possible for my big sister while never challenging her right to be the sole occupier of its glow.'' They wanted their own sitcom, starring Roseanne as a blue-collar working woman, and including a sister Jackie, a lesbian modeled after Geraldine. The plan was to use humor to advance their feminist agenda and to start a production company that would bankroll other women. But only one of the two overweight sisters was destined to see the Promised Land. In 1990, wildly successful and just beginning her relationship with Tom Arnold, Roseanne fired Geraldine. Soon after, she accused her parents of incest and child molestation. Geraldine, who sued unsuccessfully for some share in Roseanne's take, defends her parents. There were problems at home, she says; their father was sometimes inappropriately angry. But he was, if anything, the source of Roseanne's talent, an ``influence on her delivery and stage presence.'' With the whole story out of her system, Geraldine forgives ``Rosey'': ``May you one day also come to know such peace despite currently being in the midst of a hell of your own creation.'' A Geraldo show waiting to happen, with the laughs courtesy of Roseanne.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-55972-230-4

Page Count: 341

Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US

A MEMOIR

In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family’s cycle of separation and reunification.

Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family’s only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Though she was too young to remember her father when he entered the United States illegally seeking money to improve life for his family, she idolized him from afar. However, she also blamed him for taking away her mother after he sent for her when the author was not yet 5 years old. Though she emulated her sister, she ultimately answered to herself, and both siblings constantly sought affirmation of their parents’ love, whether they were present or not. When one caused disappointment, the siblings focused their hopes on the other. These contradictions prove to be the narrator’s hallmarks, as she consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence. Even as a girl, Grande understood the redemptive power of language to define—in the U.S., her name’s literal translation, “big queen,” led to ridicule from other children—and to complicate. In spelling class, when a teacher used the sentence “my mamá loves me” (mi mamá me ama), Grande decided to “rearrange the words so that they formed a question: ¿Me ama mi mamá? Does my mama love me?”

A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6177-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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