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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For those who don't believe in Santa Clause
I read the reviews before I read the book, and expected to see the author trash Mr. Manilow. I found none of that. Unlike many of the fans who've reviewed this book, I found it to be fairly balanced. And unlike a lot of the other fans, my world does not come crashing down around me to find (as I suspected) that he is gay. It's comments like one of the previous...
Published on April 8, 2003

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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Shadow of a Biography
If you've never read Barry's autobiography: "Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way To Paradise", that's the one you need to find and read. Ms. Butler's book, lacking Barry Manilow as a source (along with anyone who's been close to the man since 1980), comes across as a "shadow" of a book. It smacks of a college term paper that was required to be 20 pages...
Published on August 10, 2002 by Brenda Meskunas


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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Shadow of a Biography, August 10, 2002
This review is from: Barry Manilow (Paperback)
If you've never read Barry's autobiography: "Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way To Paradise", that's the one you need to find and read. Ms. Butler's book, lacking Barry Manilow as a source (along with anyone who's been close to the man since 1980), comes across as a "shadow" of a book. It smacks of a college term paper that was required to be 20 pages when the writer only had enough material to fill 10 ... thus necessitating some "creative journalism" to fluff it out.
To the author's credit, she valiantly tries to fill in the holes where she can, relying almost exclusively on already-published information (thus making this a boring read for diehard fans) and anecdotes from people who knew Barry decades ago. Some of the stories as they relate to Barry's earlier years are mildly interesting, but any of value are few and far between.
The book is written fairly well until the twenty-fifth chapter, at which point the structure falls apart. It seems the author couldn't figure out a good way to wrap it up, so she stumbles onward with a chapter about psychotic fans and then, at the end, with a feeble attempt to answer the burning question: Why Barry, after more than three decades, continues to be scorned by the critics and the world at large? The burning answer? Well, we don't know, because the author never really answers it. I got to the end of this one and wondered why I had bothered.
I think some fans will like to own this because there are a few unique photographs, but beyond that it's a tedious read and, as biographies go, rather poorly written.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Trash, February 22, 2006
This review is from: Barry Manilow (Paperback)
This book was a comlete an utter waste of time and money. I threw it away rather than resell to an unsuspecting buyer. Totally based on gossip, rumors, and disgruntled acquaintances of Mr. Manilow. It is an unathorized biography and Ms. Butler has never spoken to Barry Manilow. How do you write someone's life story without accurate sources? She also trashed Jim Morrison and had some sort of scandal about a scholorship fund or charity she promised the profits from that book to. I don't believe a word she writes about anyone or anything. Save your money.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Here, May 6, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Barry Manilow (Paperback)
After hearing about this book from friends and fellow Barry fans, and after witnessing her behavior toward those fans on the internet, I figured it wouldn't be worth it. After all, she even said on the usenet group that she was not a fan of Barry Manilow. Seeing that I wondered how can a someone who does not even like their subject possibly be objective? Then I decided to give it a chance and I read it when a friend let me borrow hers.
The book did not contain much new information. The author's research consisted of second and third-hand accounts of Barry's life and stops at about the same time Barry's own autobiography "Sweet Life" did. She did not speak to anyone involved with Barry now or even Barry himself. She interviewed Barry's step-mother and past co-workers and acquaintances who may or may not have an axe to grind.
The author also decided not to write about or expand upon things written in Barry's autobiography "Sweet Life" saying she did not think them important or relevant. She devotes space to Barry's alleged homosexuality but fails to say anything about Barry's love affair with Adrienne Anderson before she got married. Barry, himself, mentions it in "Sweet Life." To me, something like that would have been interesting to read.
The chapter devoted to the fans makes most fans out to be stalkers, mentally ill, and obsessed women. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I personally know many fans who lead perfectly normal lives. They work and have significant others, spouses & families. They are also there for each other in times of crisis, sometimes in person, but mostly on the BarryNet (BMIFC site). I have personally been on the receiving of such support in the form of lovely e-mails, cards, and even in-person from wonderful fans. These people are nothing like how they are portrayed by this author. While I am sure there are those who are obsessed, I am also sure they are in the minority.
The final chapter was very difficult to follow. The author skips around trying to tie up loose ends. If you want to see some new and different pictures, the book delivers there, but as for literary content, there is not much there that most fans don't already know (his true age being one) or have suspected. My recommendation, don't waste your money if you want to read it, borrow a copy from someone.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, April 7, 2002
By 
Barbara A. Breuer (Staten Island, New York United States) - See all my reviews
While this isn't the best biography I have ever read, it is the best I have read on Barry Manilow.
While this pales in comparison to _Sweet Life_, his autobiography, it does fill in where other biographies have dared not go.
Unlike the other biographies I have read, Manilow is human in this one and does not appear to walk on water.
My biggest problem with the book is that it is unbalanced. The author concentrates on his early years and breezes through his later years as if they were insignificant.
The information that she does give us regarding his early years is interesting and we gain a valuable insight into Manilow, both through previously published interviews as well as interviews with people who were part of his life back then. I was particularly concerned about how the author would treat his sexuality, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how she treated this topic with respect and dignity.
Since this is an unauthorized biography, one would expect most info to be culled from past interviews. This is ok, as she really digs deep to find the information from the interviews.
The fan portion left much to be desired. It's unfortunate that the author did not get the fan support she needed in the writing of this book as she would have gotten a better cross section of fans.
If for nothing else, buy the book for the pictures, as there are some I have never seen.
This is a book for those Manilow fans who are not afraid to think "out of the box."
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money. I wish I did., January 28, 2002
By 
suzan oberle (SanDiego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I gave in and bought it. (Yes, I AM such a sucker!!! It mentions Barry? OK, here's my wallet). I had my doubts when the author admitted in the preface that she has attended only one concert back in the 80's and has not bothered to see a single show since. So much for research.
Actually, it started out OK. It provided a few more details than Sweetlife about Barry's time with Jeane Lucas and describes the studio on 27th and how he used to hang with his neighbors in the garden they shared....Butler's actually fairly good on the really old stuff. Fun trivia on his attempts to win a dance contest for American Bandstand, his first Jazz group when he was in high school (I didn't realize that group lasted several years), a few details on some of the other shows he produced besides the Drunkard. I didn't know Barry had been drafted either, or that his dad only had part of a foot....
However, after the end of the 77 tour, she just breezes through stuff. Paradise Cafe gets only a couple paragraphs at the end of the book, and Harmony gets ONE LINE on page 232 of a 235 page book!!! Hunh??? That's inexcusable. Even "Copcabana the Musical" gets a paragraph or two.
It's clear she talked to a lot of the "old" people in Barry's life, but apparently no one since 1980 will even speak with her. Therefore, her book essentially ends after 1978--at least Sweetlife goes up to the mid-80's! She had another 13 years to discuss, yet she has nothing to say. Even his mother, Edna, who figures prominantly in the beginning, is never mentioned again after she enters the sanitarium and sends him a letter. If you didn't know better, you'd think she was never released!
Butler also goes ON and ON and ON about his dad. Obviously the one person Butler spent the most time talking with was Annie Kelliher, Barry's dad's second wife. She spends WAY too much time discussing his father. While I'm sure all this shaped him as a child, I really don't think it was the defining point in his life. Move on....
Also, Butler spends the last few chapters trying to explain why the critics didn't like him....it goes on forever but she never makes her point. Finally, she copies pages and pages directly from the book Starlust. These pages describe the two absolute worst fanatics as typical fans---people with severe mental problems. Any woman who cries after she has sex with her husband because he isn't Barry or one who talks to Barry ALL day long (she imagines he's working in the other room and offers him coffee) is clearly MENTALLY ILL and needs immediate treatment.
If you abolutely MUST have this book to "complete your collection", do yourself a favor and stop reading after the first 75 pages-maybe sooner. Better yet, save your money. I wish I did.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why did she bother?, January 20, 2002
By A Customer
Why did she write this book? It's clear that she does not have an ounce of respect for her subject. Aside from a few never-before-seen photos, this book was a waste of time and money. I found it odd that for the most part, the book seemed to end in the early 80's, around the same time Manilow's own autobiography ended (coincidence?), with very little mentioned about his accomplishments over the last 20 years in the last chapter. The chapter on his fans was an embarrassment to read, focusing on a few fans who seem to have lost touch with the real world. The author's sources are old magazine articles and interviews from people who have not been associated with Manilow for many years. The constant "reminders" of his sexuality became tedious, popping up several times for no apparent reason. The book also seems to go out of its way to discredit things Barry himself said in his own book with "let me tell you what REALLY happened" third-party accounts and the author's own speculations.
If you really want to read this book, wait until you find it at a yard sale.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For those who don't believe in Santa Clause, April 8, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Barry Manilow (Paperback)
I read the reviews before I read the book, and expected to see the author trash Mr. Manilow. I found none of that. Unlike many of the fans who've reviewed this book, I found it to be fairly balanced. And unlike a lot of the other fans, my world does not come crashing down around me to find (as I suspected) that he is gay. It's comments like one of the previous reviewers, "I'm so disappointed," that has kept this man in the closet for 30 years, and that is just sad that he has to pretend to be something he's not just to keep his fan base of middle-class, middle-age, suburban housewives who seem to harbor the fantasy that Manilow is going to swoop down and rescue them from their boring, mini-van existence. (I've been to his concerts and judging from the first three rows, this is a fairly accurate portrayal). I read "Sweet Life," and it sounded a little too rosy to be believable. Most people's autobiographies reflect what they want you to know. This biography went over many things "Sweet Life" didn't cover. If you want to read a fairly balanced book about Barry Manilow, and don't mind having any delusions you may harbor shattered, I found this one to be excellent.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly incomplete, February 19, 2002
By A Customer
Although it includes some interesting facts from Manilow's early years in the music business, this book seems to rely heavily on the recollections of his father's second wife, a disgruntled former employee, and a long-ago singing partner. There's really nothing past around 1980. The author obviously was unable to speak to any of Manilow's present day associates and friends.
The fact that 1984's "2:00 AM Paradise Cafe" (which was a major event in his musical career when he worked with jazz greats such as Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Mann, and Mel Torme) was merely glossed over, and there is virtually no mention of either of Manilow's theatrical efforts ("Copacabana" and "Harmony") where his heart seems to have been for the past 10 or so years, the book is totally incomplete. The past 20 years are, for all intents and purposes, nonexistant.
Altogether a disappointing book about someone with a 30 year musical career. Not to mention the rather caustic way the author chose to depict Manilow's fans as pathetic creatures totally out of touch with reality, and she did that by quoting page after page from an obscure British book called Starlust. Having been to a few of his concerts, and talked to some of his fans, the author is way off the mark to use a large chunk of that bizarre book to describe ordinary people who enjoy his work. Perhaps none of them would speak to her.
I was hoping to learn more about his life after 1983 when his autobiography ended, but I guess I'll wait for him to write the second volume. I wouldn't recommend buying this book as it's so incomplete.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Look Elsewhere--No New Information About The Man, December 18, 2001
By A Customer
This book presents no new information on Barry Manilow's life. Much of it quotes from Manilow's autobiography--you're better off reading it from the man himself. In fact, the "biography" portion of the book ends when Manilow's book was published (in 1987!)--there is no information about Manilow's life since then. The author dwells on the negative aspects of his life and career and gets into "he said/she said" discussions about certain incidents in his life. The more interesting part of the book comes with the last two or three chapters where the author interviews noted music journalists to determine reasons why Manilow has never gotten the critical acclaim he deserves.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bird cage liner, October 25, 2002
By 
This review is from: Barry Manilow (Paperback)
I bought this book thinking that Barry had authorized it and had actually cooperated with the author. I could not have been more wrong;the fact that I had to order it instead of finding it on the shelves should have told me something. This woman has set out to trash Mr. Manilow's reputation and she's found just enough people with a dislike for the man and a reason to be less than truthful to do it. If she had proof of why he was rejected by the draft board why didn't she publish it in the book? She could certainly have gotten a copy from the pentagon under the Freedom of Information Act. Lee Gurst claims that he, the rest of the band, and Lady Flash were fired after the shows in Las Vegas yet, all of the members of Lady Flash were with him for the Live at the Greek cable special which was filmed in1978.He also neglected to mention that Barry produced an album for the girls in 1976, and how could Michael Deveraux have possibly gone cruising the bars as he so charmingly put it when, he was in the intensive care unit recovering from an accident that nearly killed him and then had to return to New York to finish recovering.
As for Jeanne Lucas, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned as the saying goes. For every rumor about Mr. Manilow's supposed homosexuality, there are rumors about his involvement with women;one of whom is named REPARATA and I sincerely doubt Mr. Manilow was the one to start them. Lastly, I'd like to point out that I can't imagine any woman staying with a man to cover for him no matter how deep the friendship is,for over thirty years and if these rumors were true, I'm certain the tabloids would have printed it years ago. If anyone reading this book changes their mind about Mr. Manilow because of these allegations, then they weren't truly fans to begin with. I'm sadly disappointed that Ms. Butler decided to hurt someone she's never even met for no reason I can think of.Don't waste your money buying this book.
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Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow by Patricia Butler (Paperback - June 1, 2002)
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