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Martha Stewart: Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography Hardcover – July, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

You'll want to wear old clothes: Jerry Oppenheimer's biography of Style Doyenne Martha Stewart is a frenzy of mudslinging. With chapter titles like "A Dysfunctional Family," you know exactly what to expect--but Stewart is such a big, fat target that the book is entertaining anyway. Obviously, the architect of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is no sweetheart. (Control issues? You don't say). But regardless of the muck, you'll come away with a mixture of respect for Stewart's talent and prodigious drive ("I can will an orgasm whenever I want"), and profound gratitude that she's not your daughter, wife, mother, friend, or business associate. Just Desserts affords brief glimpses of the private Martha. She was called "Marty" in high school. She modeled her way through Barnard. She may have engaged in wife-swapping. But anyone surprised that Martha the domestic goddess is a work of fiction misses the point entirely.

From Library Journal

A veteran tabloid biographer (The Other Mrs. Kennedy, St. Martin's, 1994) here purports to reveal the less savory side of the oh-so-genteel Martha Stewart. Don't look for reviews; the book is embargoed until the sale date.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 399 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688146899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688146894
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Great bio--these unauthorized ones are best!
I love Martha'skitschy campy shows, her magazines, her bedding and towels and paintand other household goods (I can't wait for the next white sale at Kmart) and although I never cook I love to leaf through her cookbooks and even have on occaision thought about using some of her tips. I think she is funny in a wry dry sort of way. And she is stylish, and she does present the dream of perfection--perfect homes, weddings, parties, holidays--the all too perfect "All American" dream of a "white picket fence, rose gardens and green lawns" life. it is...just a dream. (Say it ain't so!)And she caters to us--not only foodstuffs and linens, but a dream that if we buy said book/blanket/bridal guide etc. that we too can have a little taste of style, that we too can share in this perfect dream. That is the allure of Martha. I for one don't care about how bitchy the woman is--and it could very well be that she is a diva and a doyenne. Or it could just be that the author wants to make a quick buck, that his reliable sources are harboring sour grapes, that the Martha of then is not the Martha of now.
Taken as a good trashy read this book is tops! (For those interested, the unauthorized bios of Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Danielle Steel, Courtney Love and Anais Nin are pretty good too--can't recall who wrote these but they are engrossingly good nonetheless)
If Martha were a man this would be gravy. She would be held up and admired like some super business hero. She is depicted as a ballbusting backstabbing bitch because she is a woman--if she were a man she would be merely Machiavellian. She would receive accolades for her behavior.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A.A.W. on December 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
While reading this biography, I had to remind myself of the fact that over _400_ individuals were interviewed for this book. After all, how can one woman be so mean, greedy, insensitive, manipulative, and dishonest? Unlike many obessesive Martha fans, I never put much stock into her public persona. Her tips were "cute", but not often applicable to everyday life -- I could take them or leave them. However, after watching a few of her shows and noticing the way in which she appropriated "expert" status on every topic (from choosing proper firewood to making latkes for Chanukah to planning a garden -- Martha ALWAYS knew better than her own guests. If you don't believe me, check her out correcting Julia Child on Julia's OWN PBS baking show!) I knew there was something more. Those who criticize this book for muckraking are overlooking the most important and telling aspect of "Just Desserts" -- the people identified and quoted. Anyone who knows a whit about journalism knows that attributed quotes (especially regarding an individual) are terribly difficult to come by. The fact that nearly every major associate of Martha's (past and present) came forward "on the record" is astounding and cannot be overlooked or palmed-off as "jealousy" or "mean-spiritedness". Ms. Stewart is one cookie you don't mess with, turn your back on, or do business with. As for those who speak of "good taste" and who describe M.S. critics as "uncouth" or "provincial", I say that you and Martha are practicising a style of class-ism that should make most of us shudder and only serves to reinforce Mr. Oppenheimer's points about Martha and her wannabees.Read more ›
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Driven, talented, educated, successful--if only she had been a man. But Martha's not, that makes her a ballbuster. I enjoyed this book because it was so easy to read between the lines. Martha Stewart worked hard, made the real American Dream come true-to be wealthy, powerful, and famous. It's okay for Lee Iacoca or Donald Trump to do this--but not an Irish Catholic girl child of the fifties. Maybe it's not just that she's a woman, but that she's made her way to fame and fortune through homemaking--traditionally the most underesteemed and underpaid work. In other words, women's work. I admire her immensly, even more so after reading this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer A. Hoffman on January 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Why didn't Oppenheimer call the book 'I don't like Martha Stewart' and appoint himself president of her not-fan club? We all knew Martha was hiding something. After all, anyone who professes to be 'that' perfect must have something to hide. And, after reading 'Just Desserts' we know it all. The real question is do we care? Oppenheimer treats each 'Martha' revelation as another 'sin.' The way she treated her husband, her partner, staff and anyone else unlucky enough to cross her path is the stuff of legend. Oppenheimer tries to be funny at times, but the effect is tragic, as he uncovers each layer of what appears to be an unhappy, desperate woman. The lengths to which she goes to hide the real 'truth' of her life are extraordinary. This is, of course, hearsay, but each chapter ends with an unwritten admonition ---'see, I told you she was a terrible person,' as he reveals one more betrayal, evil deed, or cunning move. I finished the book wondering what Jerry had against Martha. Sure, she was driven to succeed and was willing to sacrifice a lot to get there, but isn't that part of the 'American' way? Martha Stewart built an empire and she too, will pass, when people tire of her. For now, she has her fame and fortune and if that makes her happy and she keeps her millions of apostles happy, so what? I'd recommend the book if you're feeling particularly vindictive, or if you're on a long trip and need a diversion.
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