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Jokes My Father Never Taught Me: Life, Love, and Loss with Richard Pryor Hardcover – October 31, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperEntertainment; First Edition first Printing edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061195421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061195426
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Here's a rambling, warts-and-all look at life with Richard Pryor, the beloved comedy iconoclast whose public success masked a private life brimming with alcohol, drugs, violence and paranoia. Written by his 37-year-old daughter, this family biography chronicles her first meeting with her father at age four, Richard's role as a wayward family man (he had seven children by a number of different women), his struggle with MS, and his 2005 death. Amid less interesting snapshots of her own life-including her work as an actress-Pryor offers a bold but sympathetic portrait of her "misogynistic, mercurial, unpredictable, and violent" father that's as fascinating as it is conflicted: "That was life with Richard Pryor. Sex and violence, punctuated by rare moments of family happiness." In addition, Pryor takes readers behind the scenes of Richard's career; into the "weird sort of Richard Pryor Fan Club" made up of ex-wives, ex-girlfriends and their children; and down Richard's frightening path to debilitating illness. Vital, entertaining and appalling, Pryor has fleshed out a familiar dysfunctional family refrain-"It was a lot easier to love him if you didn't know him"-with bravery and wit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Rain Pryor is an actor, singer, producer, and comedian. She and Richard Pryor are the only father and daughter ever to have headlined at the Comedy Store on Sunset Strip. As a young girl she was a regular on the hit ABC series Head of the Class, she starred on the Showtime series Rude Awakenings, and has performed in theater productions nationwide. Rain is most proud of the hit one-woman show she wrote and coproduced based on her own life, Fried Chicken and Latkas, for which she was nominated for four NAACP Theater Awards and won Best Actress. She is dedicated to the cause of finding a cure for multiple sclerosis, the disease that finally took her father in December 2005. Pryor lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Customer Reviews

Hats off to you Rain!
A good read and very informative, but author goes overboard with her use of profanity, which though common to her father was not necessary for her as well.
Joseph R. Stencel
I enjoyed getting a better feel for how it was to grow up as the child of a comedian, who obviously didn't always want to be funny.
Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By tkay on December 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can't remember the last book I read that made me laugh as well as cry. This is a good'un: a must have for any Richard Pryor fan. And if you weren't a Rain Pryor fan before, you will be after reading this. I am proud of Rain and she should be proud of herself. She really did her thing on this one. She didn't hold back, she let it all out. This book is not sugar-coated at all. She's brutally honest just like her dad.

This book was so moving to me because I can relate to Rain in several different ways. My father was also abusive. My father abused alcohol and drugs and went on violent rampages. My father also believed that money was equivalent to an apology or an expression of love. Rain recalled that a good solid hug would have been much better than a new car. I can definitely relate to that. My father also ended up wheel-chair bound and died from a debilitating disease (Parkinson's). It's not easy watching someone you love deteriorate like that no matter how bad of a parent they were. And like Rain, no matter what my father did, I still loved him very much.

I know Richard is looking down on her beaming with pride. While he never recovered from his troubled childhood, she did. And she did it with grace and a forgiving spirit. Bless her heart, with two unstable parents, it's amazing what's she's done with her life. Though she dabbled with alcohol and drugs, she never became an addict. She was also blessed to find a good husband unlike many daughters of abusive fathers. Hats off to you Rain!

This book is definitely a page-turner, as a matter of fact, I didn't put it down once I started reading it. I read the whole thing in one sitting. An easy read, this book is also filled with some really nice photos.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By a reader on November 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Rain Pryor's book was hard to put down. As intimate as it was, I wanted even more details of her life, and I wanted to book to be longer. She inherited her Fathers incredible sence of humor, which I could not get enough of. Her strength and forgivness amazing me though. How can you forgive two Parents that were totally abusive in everyway ? Its tough, and Rain is one tough cookie ! In her book she describes Mamma , Richard Pryors Grandmother as teaching her that "Your Daddy beats you cuz he loves you" "Get over it" And she calls this good advice, was she serious or sarcastic ? I think accepting this kind of child abuse, perpetuates it.This scene was after Rain was sexually molested my a relative, and good ol' Richard stepped in to beat the hell out of Rain, for being molested ! "To teach her a lesson for flaunting her stuff " Richard Pryor being raised in a whorehouse run by this Mamma, he himself only saw sex and whoppin's, he had no chance. It fueled his true comic genius, sure, But, when is all this abuse going to stop? especially in the Black community, were Black comics think child Whoppin's are just hilarious? I see it everyday. Rain said "you have to let go", I agree, but until child abuse can be seen for what it is, Parents are going to get away with it, for cultural reasons. Rains Mother was the Mother from hell also, but she tried and admitted to Rain that she was "messed up" and on Richards death bed she told him Rain was the best we ever created, Rain heard this and it really helped her. Also one day close to the end Richard told Rain that he was so sorry for everything he put Rain through, and touchingly gave her, as an adult, a Teddy bear, his way of making amends.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emily on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I had bought this book for one of my best friends for her birthday. She also suffers from MS, and was interested to read about Richard Pryor. After finishing it, she let me borrow it to see if I came to same conclusion she did about Richard's daughter Rain. Jokes My Father Never Taught Me, tells the story of Rain Pryor's childhood and her life with one of the most famous fathers in Hollywood. Rain grew up with half Jewish, half black. She states that she never felt quite Jewish enough, or quite black enough. Constantly surrounded by drugs and alcohol, Rain finds herself lost in her own life. As she gets older, she realized that acting is what she most wants to do. However, after a short stint on Head of the Class, Rain finds herself without a car, or a home. Having lost everything due to the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Furthermore, we see the pain that Rain experiences as her father suffers through a very harsh battle with MS. As his life is ran by one of his ex-wives, Rain must make appointments to see her father and is no longer allowed to see him on a regular basis. Also at this time, Rain meets her future husband Kevin, who she says helped her to deal with the struggles of her childhood and young adult life. However, after reading this story, I feel as though Rain Pryor is still not happy in life. My best friend came to the same conclusion. In fact, after closing the last pages of the book, I felt both emotionally drained and depressed. All in all, an interesting look into the life of one of America's top comics.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Whatshername on January 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Without even taking into account the quality of most "offspring of celebrity" books, this was a very good read! It was touching and insightful, not just a wild and shocking account of Richard's life. (which by all accounts would have filled a book easily) I would recommend it for anyone who likes entertainment/show business memoirs.
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