ROSEANNE: My Life as a Woman by Roseanne Barr
Kirkus Star

ROSEANNE: My Life as a Woman

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A strange and wonderful autobiography from TV's hottest star, showing the shocks and aftershocks that made a mystical feminist comic out of a Jewish girl growing up among the ""Nazi Amish"" in Salt Lake City. From the start, Barr was the product of mixed messages. Both her parents were storytellers and comedians, treating every guest to a little repertoire of weird Barr family stories. At the same time, though, Barr was taught to forget her dreams of being a writer, and to make an uneasy alliance with the--to her--stark and stolid God of Mormon culture. One time, little Rosie fell on a piece of furniture and contracted a 48-hour paralysis that her mother thought was cured by a Mormon priest. Roseanne gave testimony at Mormon meetings until she chanced to read a description of ""Bell's Paralysis"" in a medical book. Barr's second public speaking tour came after a car accident that ended in her horrific incarceration in an asylum. When the car hit her, Barr catapulted into the air and the hood ornament pierced her brain--causing strange dreams that she now thinks were an effect of the brain healing itself. Her parents committed her, however, and the seeds of her humor--and her witchy matriarchal sanity--began to appear as she toured high schools, talking in panel discussions about mental illness in youth: ""We went to a town one time and I go 'I'm here cause I'm psychotic,' and the Doctor goes, 'No one on our panel is psychotic, Roseanne.' I go, 'Then why am I here?' "" After she was released, she fled to the hippie haven of Georgetown, Col., where she met her husband, Bill. Later, moving to Denver, married with three kids, she encountered a feminist circle that acted as a magical catalyst on her pysche (""they were millions of years old and they showed me how to howl at the moon. . .""). She never lost her ""super-political"" strain of feminist spirituality, though, transforming it into the working-class matriarch--""the Domestic Goddess""--that has made her a star. A bit stilted, and unabashedly indulgent, but Barr's mad, true vision shines through, just a laugh away from spinning out of control. Very funny, very flank--and sure to be a big, big seller.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1989
Publisher: Harper & Row