MADONNA: The Book by Norman King


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Steamy life of Madonna, who comes off both worse and better than you might expect. King (Everybody Loves Oprah!, 1987, etc.) seemingly has felt no need to go beyond scissors-and-paste in this thinnish bio, since Madonna herself in various interviews furnishes him with enough hot quotes to fuel his pages. Nor is he expert on her music. Still, we are faced here with a gifted human being whose relentlessly graphic honesty breaks conventions like so many arm bones. Raised in a strict Catholic family in Michigan, Madonna has said, ""I grew up with two images of women: The Virgin and the Whore."" She studied dance, was told by her gay ballet teacher that she had a ""face like an ancient Roman statue,"" which gave her a fix on her beauty. Dropping her college career at Ann Arbor to accept a job with the Alvin Alley dance troupe in New York, she then landed a soft-porn film job and did some nude modeling (photos that later surfaced in Playboy and Penthouse). Her ""Burning Up"" (sexually) video boosted her onto MTV (""Unlike the others, I'll do anything/I'm not the same, I have no shame,"" go the lyrics). Meanwhile, she apparently stepped over the bodies of those who helped her. Her biggest break came as a kooky lead in Desperately Seeking Susan, followed by a failed marriage to Scan Penn. Her role as Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy brought her $14 million in album sales, more than her part-time lover Warren Beatty made as Tracy. Her Truth or Dare film finds her rawly frank about sex, as does her Rolling Stone interview with Carrie Fisher: ""I don't like blow jobs. [I like] getting head."" The story of a monstrous talent who will say anything--if it's true--and gains our sympathy for it.

Pub Date: Dec. 16th, 1991
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Morrow