Customer Reviews: I'm the One That I Want
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on November 26, 2001
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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VINE VOICEon March 9, 2008
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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on May 19, 2003
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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on April 28, 2001
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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VINE VOICEon May 8, 2002
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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on March 15, 2010
I'm not surprised that many of the previous reviews describe Cho's tone as "bitter" in this book. But in my opinion, they're mistaken. She's brutally honest about having survived years of abuse and mistreatment, and about the real damage it all did. It is easy to mistake that for bitterness, especially if you have never experienced the sort of alienation and isolation she describes.

But for those of us who have experienced such things, this is a tremendously uplifting book. Whatever demons you've had to struggle with in your life - at home, at school, at work, in love, with booze or drugs - you're not alone and you can overcome them just as she did. Cho isn't wallowing in self-pity at all here; she's celebrating the fact that she survived her very difficult youth, and in my view she is also sending a message that you can do it too, whoever you are and whatever you've been through. And yes, it's funny. Not laugh-a-minute funny like her stand-up act, but it definitely finds the humor in all sorts of learning experiences that were anything but funny at the time. I was a bit surprised at her low opinion of "All-American Girl" since she has been somewhat defensive of it elsewhere, but even that experience emerges as a source of strength rather than bitterness.

As with most of her jokes, you either get it or you don't. But if you do get it, you'll love it!
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on September 5, 2011
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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on May 30, 2015
As a fan of autobiography as an art, and of Margaret Cho as an artist, this is an amazing brutally candid and specific telling of her truth as she experienced and remembers it. She does not spare herself or the show business industry in detailing a meteoric rise from working small comedy clubs to starring in her own sit com, and the price of the expectations of her in that situation for a first generation Korean-American woman. At times, this is an hilarious description of her life experiences, sometimes juxtaposed with heart breaking experiences of racism and sexism so blatant they take the reader's breath away. Not just a tell-all, this is a well written and fascinating story of a woman finding her own strength, her own truth and the right to take control of her own life (at least, as much as anyone controls their own life.) I highly recommend this book.
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on September 25, 2015
The one word I would not have expected to describe Margaret Cho's memoir was "poignant", and yet that is the first word that comes to mind, after reading her book. Some of the challenges that Cho encounters are not unusual, but the cumulative and continued negativity towards her as she was growing up would affect anyone's self-esteem. In the end, Cho recognizes that she is the most important person in her life, and puts that to practice now. Anyone who has had self-esteem issues can relate to and benefit from what the author learns, and applies to her own life.
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on May 16, 2015
Magaret Cho has written a very powerful and very painful account of her life. Our life experiences could not have been more different and yet so much of what she writes is exactly my story, too. Open emotional wounds, the hell of rejection, self-loathing and self-sabatoge, and then, finally, self-acceptance. Perhaps that self-acceptance is provisional and/or temporary. Such a long, hard battle. There were times I had to take a break from the emotional intensity of this book before I could come back and read more but there was never any doubt that I would come back and finish this book. I do wish there had been a few photographs in the book. Other than that one disappointment, the book is magnificent.
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