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I'm the One That I Want Paperback – April 30, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345440145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345440143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Don't come to this bitter, engrossing memoir for a quick and easy laugh. The material that Margaret Cho has turned to such riotous ends in her stand-up act has a very different flavor on the page. An unpopular child (okay, hated and reviled), Cho made friends with the drag queens who worked in her father's bookstore, soon becoming a fag hag, and finding this mutual attraction "both nurturing and powerful, sweet and sour, retail and wholesale." "Drag queens are strong because they have so much to fight against," writes Cho, "homophobia, sexism, pink eye." To support herself at the beginning of her comedy career, Cho worked at FAO Schwarz, sometimes moonlighting in phone sex. Occasionally the jobs would overlap, and she would find herself doing phone sex dressed as Raggedy Ann. There isn't much here about Cho's early success, but she does delve at length into her disastrous sitcom, and devotes many pages to her battles with her weight, with drugs, and with alcohol, and her hopeless relationships with men (none of the bisexual material from her stage act is included here). Cho's message is about self-esteem in the face of consistent opposition from her family, the network that aired a "Margaret Cho" sitcom but permitted her no creative control, and a society that rewards women for thinness, whiteness, meekness, and a shut mouth. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Expanding on her one-woman show (and film) of the same title, comedian Cho mines her improbable life. The misfit daughter of Korean immigrants in San Francisco (who named her Moran, which she likens to naming a kid "Asshill"), she dropped out of high school, gaining success in stand-up even as she succumbed to self-loathing, substance abuse, bad boyfriends and the siren song of Hollywood. As star of the first Asian-American sitcom (All-American Girl), she was forced to diet herself into sickness even as the show strayed from her story and quickly foundered. This book runs into the inevitable challenge of converting performance into print; neither a script nor a fully fleshed-out memoir, it works episodically but ultimately fizzles. Descriptions of the endless lousy men in Cho's life, perhaps disarming onstage, become tedious on the page. Still, she finds humor in pathos. Working on a pilot with a sitcom writer, she held back the truth: "I was unemployed and trying to kick a sick crystal meth habit by smoking huge bags of paraquat-laced marijuana and watching Nick at Night for six hours at a time. Now, that's a sitcom." Cho knows how great comics tend toward self-destruction, finding it hard to come down from stage adulation. Still, her discovery of self-esteem and New Agey conclusions ("I discovered there was a goddess deep inside me") are something that an acerbic comedian like Cho shouldn't embrace without irony. (May)Forecast: Cho's five-city tour and radio satellite tour will bring her to the attention of her young, hip audience.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

If you are a Margaret Cho fan, you'll want to pick this book up.
Daryl B
The book felt flat to me, and it was disjointed, jumping from timeframe to timeframe with no particular rhyme or reason.
Lois Lain
The writing isn't super smooth, but the frankness and very real experiences more than make up for it.
"agentlin"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Luke G. on November 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The title of this reflects my opinion of the most recent "reviewers" and their responses to this book, not the book itself--which I love. Too many of them did not like this book because they were expecting something "funny" or whatever. Typecasting--that's typical America, I suppose.
The fact is, whether or not you like Cho's comedy should be irrelevant when actually rating her autobiography. And when a person can get beyond his/her preconceived notions, I think that he/she would find it to be a sincere and intelligent reading.
Cho does something that many people overlook when addressing discrimination and identity: she brings forth issues regarding gays and lesbians, overweight people and Asian Americans. It's appalling to know that *All American Girl* was the first sitcom based on an Asian family! Think about it.
Margaret Cho, in her autobiography, may be angry at the people who have wronged her in the past; however, she serves as an example to all of us by not taking herself as serious as "True Hollywood Story" celebrities and instead deconstructing herself honestly for us. Her strength in her identity is rare among anyone in the public eye.
I recommend this text to anyone who is interested in identity politics, self love and deconstruction, minority issues and all related topics.
And those who said that her humor isn't really conveyed in the text are mistaken--all of her recent material makes fun of her tragedy but is still VERY serious. Just don't typecast her into what you want her to be (or are afraid to be yourself) and you'll enjoy the experience.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's a shockingly honest book that made me stay up till 3am to finish. I was expecting something like her standup routine, but I found her confiding secrets that most people would pay to hide. It made me relate, laugh, and cry, because it was so real and truthful. It's not Shakespeare, but it's compelling. She brings the reader through her journey and achievement of self love.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John M. Herron on May 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I don't need Margaret to be funny in her autobiography, I only want that from her on stage. All I require of an autobiography is a life worth talking about, honesty, and the talent necessary to make me feel bonded to the author. I found that here. I was actually somewhat surprised by Margaret's simple yet profound writing style.
Fans coming to this book lookin for a laugh will be disappointed. Fans coming to this book to learn more about the serious side of Margaret, about alchoholism, about self-acceptance, depression, about addiction, and about degradation will find what they want here. I think the author of Prozac Nation said it best when she made reference to the fact that so many of her readers complained they found her autobiography "irritating" and she responded that it was exactly the effect that she was going for, because depression in it's sense of endlessness is irritating. One keeps hoping, while reading this book, that the depression is over, wanting to scream "snap out of it." Those of us who have lived with depression or have lived with someone who has depression can understand the feeling.
I recommend Cho's book for it's courage, honesty, and wit.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on May 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Well, it is, in parts. But she goes into such detail about her personal problems (drinking, drugs, sex, strict dieting) that this book is in turns depressing, disturbing, and poignant.
Nevertheless, it is an excellent autobiography. One wishes for such frankness and forthrightness in autobiographies. Margaret Cho does not whitewash. She comes right out. More authors should be so blunt in their writing.
So, it's not a comedy, but it does illustrate the sources of her top-of-the-line standup routines. If she can go through all of these awful situations and still come out on top, then more power to her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jblyn on September 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Being unfamiliar with Margaret Cho other than her name, I came to this audio book a few days ago by way of a liquidation sale at a used bookstore near Bethany Beach, Delaware. I put it on in the car and then had a hard time stopping my driving because I was so caught up in it. While I can't speak to how well her comedy has held up over the years, I CAN say that this....memoir? Extended routine? What do you call it?......DOES hold up because she takes on her life with a deft mixture of humor and anger, with equal parts objectivity and self-pity (which I don't see as a negative), and what you get is both a VERY funny and VERY reflective take on a roller-coaster life. At the very least, this audio book has whetted my appetite to hear and see more of Cho, and made for a great introduction!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on March 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book begins with some very painful childhood experiences... she was not just bullied, she was reviled. Even at a church sponsored summer camp, she was traded off by girls who should have been her friends, but sought social acceptance by joining in Margaret's (Moran's) humiliation. There are no adults around to intercede. Her parents seem to agree with the world's negative opinion of her. It is no surprise that she drops (flunks) out of school and finds companionship among those in society's other outcast groups.

There are many raw examples of what was wrong with her life. For this reason, the book is probably censored away from the many badgered and taunted teenage girls who could use these reality lessons to understand the dynamics that are working against them. Margaret figures it out finally--- after some real hard knocks lessons.

I read this in succession with Steve Martin's memoir about his stand up career Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life. In contrast, Margaret's book is much more intimate, informative and graphic. While Steve says it's lonely on the road-- Margaret describes it. The vignettes about finding a room around Fordham, driving on black ice, the booing in Monroe and the off duty bell hop, and more give the reader a real feel for what happens. Similarly, she describes how TV pilots are made from the business meeting with the humorless executives who decide what comedy shows will fly, to the high priority on the actress's weight, to the lack of interaction of the star and the writers. Martin reveals none of his experiences here.

This book is raw and real. Fortunately it has an affirming ending for the reader, but especially for Margaret.
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