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My Son Divine Paperback – November 1, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No mother wants to watch her son eat dog poop, as Frances Milstead, mother of the gifted actor and outrageous drag persona Divine (1945-1988) would agree. Divine asked her not to see the John Waters film Pink Flamingos, in which the unforgettable poop-noshing scene occurs, and she has abided by his wishes. To her credit, though, she proudly describes the scene and its aftermath, in which Divine's friends overheard him calling an emergency room to ask what diseases his 12-year-old son might have picked up from eating a dog turd ("Yes, well, he's a little retarded."). Clearly Milstead is no ordinary mother. Page after page she provides a remarkably unembarrassed view of her son's adventures on and off screen. With amusing childhood details for true devotees of Divine, plenty of new photos, and judicious quoting from other sources, such as John Waters and his friend and producer Pat Moran, My Son Divine serves as a corrective to Bernard Jay's harshly drawn Not Simply Divine, and offers a warm, entertaining version of the drag star's life. --Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly

This loving, photo-filled tribute to the 350-pound female impersonator/disco chanteuse/ character actor Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead) offers cult movie fans an intimate biography of the star of Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Lust in the Dust and other films, and stands as an excellent companion to John Waters's Shock Value. Thanks to an ideal matching of coauthors, there is a satisfying balance between "Glenny at home" anecdotes from Divine's mother and detailed coverage of his career from coauthors Heffernan and Yeager (writer and director, respectively, of Divine Trash, the award-winning documentary about the early films of Waters and Divine). Born to doting parents, Glenn was a complicated child: he struggled with his weight, and with his social life; he could be moody and occasionally demanding. His habit of charging purchases to his parents' credit cards eventually led to a nine-year estrangement. During that time, Waters rechristened Glenn "Divine" and created a midnight matinee star. "I wanted him to be the Godzilla of drag queens," said Waters, who, along with costars and friends, is extensively interviewed throughout. Later, happily reunited with his family, Divine found mainstream success with 1988's Hairspray; a few weeks later, at 42, he died of cardiac arrest. Many quoted within this volume decry the negativity of Not Simply Divine, the lively 1993 memoir by Divine's manager Bernard Jay. But the portraits resemble one another, in that each is a warts-and-all biography of an artist who was larger than life in both talent and temperament. Color and b&w photos. (Nov.)Forecast: With hundreds of never-before-published photos and the ace credentials of the authors, fans of the flamboyant star will find this package hard to resist.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st edition (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555835945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555835941
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A beautifully written biography from a proud mother that reads more like a tribute. Most people will unfortunately always remember Divine as the obnoxious drag queen who's work in John Waters' early movies shocked people all over the world. This book show's the real man, Glenn Milstead, behind the makeup. The shy, loving, giving person that preferred to be known as an actor rather than a drag queen. Full of rich stories & anecdotes from Glenn's mother, friends, associates and other Dreamlanders, we see a jolly man who loved buying things for people he loved even when it went beyond his means. There are plenty of rare photos of Divine from his childhood up until his untimely death in 1988. John Waters said it best when he said that Divine was a wonderful character actor who started off playing a psychopathic woman and ended playing a loving mother...which is a good stretch, especially when you're a 300lb. man.
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WHAT TRULY MAKES A PERFORMER A STAR? IS IT LEGIONS OF FANS? MILLIONS IN THE BANK? EMMYS AND OSCARS ON DISPLAY IN THEIR MANSIONS? NO. IN MY OPINION, WHAT TRULY MAKES A PERFORMER A STAR IS A PERSON WITH THE ABILITIES TO INDELIBLY IMPRINT THEMSELVES/THEIR WORK INTO THE MINDS' OF THEIR AUDIENCE - AND THAT IT WHAT DIVINE DID BEST.

THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK WRITTEN BY HIS MOTHER, ETC., THAT GIVES YOU THE TRUE STORY OF ONE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST INFAMOUS OF STARS. FRANCES MILSTEAD DOESN'T SUGARCOAT ANYTHING HERE. SHE PUTS THE GOOD TIMES, AND THE BAD TIMES (AND EVERYTHING IN-BETWEEN), HERE IN PRINT FOR ALL TO SEE. THERE REALLY IS NO NEED FOR ANY OTHER DIVINE BIOGRAPHY TO BE WRITTEN IN THE FUTURE, FOR EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DIVINE (BUT WERE ALWAYS AFRAID TO ASK), IS RIGHT HERE IN THIS BOOKS' PAGES. AND, AS AN ADDED TREAT, THERE ARE MANY, MANY RARE PICTURES OF DIVINE (IN FULL GLOSSY COLOR) IN ALL OF HIS WONDERFUL GLORY HERE TO BE SEEN. A MUST HAVE FOR ANY DIVINE FAN.

WE LOVE YOU DIVINE!!!
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Format: Paperback
This is a refreshing look at a wonderful entertainer and person. Ms. Milstead manages to provide a straight-forward account of Divine's life. She readily includes the good and not so perfect aspects of her son. She provides an insider perspective on Divine that we have not seen. Ms. Milstead's inclusion of quotes from those closest to her son truly fleshes out who Glenn Milstead really was. This book is highly recommended for fans of Divine as well as others who don't know much about this incredible person. Thanks to his mom, we know more about Divine.
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Format: Paperback
This loving, photo-filled tribute to the 350-pound female impersonator/disco chanteuse/ character actor Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead) offers cult movie fans an intimate biography of the star of PINK FLAMINGOS, FEMALE TROUBLE, POLYESTER, LUST IN THE DUST and other films, and stands as an excellent companion to John Waters's SHOCK VALUE.

Thanks to an ideal matching of coauthors, there is a satisfying balance between "Glenny at home" anecdotes from Divine's mother and detailed coverage of his career from coauthors Heffernan and Yeager (writer and director, respectively, of Divine Trash, the award-winning documentary about the early films of Waters and Divine). Born to doting parents, Glenn was a complicated child: he struggled with his weight, and with his social life; he could be moody and occasionally demanding. His habit of charging purchases to his parents' credit cards eventually led to a nine-year estrangement. During that time, Waters rechristened Glenn "Divine" and created a midnight matinee star. "I wanted him to be the Godzilla of drag queens," said Waters, who, along with costars and friends, is extensively interviewed throughout.

Later, happily reunited with his family, Divine found mainstream success with 1988's HAIRSPRAY a few weeks later, at 42, he died of cardiac arrest. Many quoted within this volume decry the negativity of NOT SIMPLY DIVINE, the lively 1993 memoir by Divine's manager Bernard Jay. But the portraits resemble one another, in that each is a warts-and-all biography of an artist who was larger than life in both talent and temperament.
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By A Customer on October 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This biography beats any other book on Divine by a long shot. "NOT SIMPLY DIVINE" is nothing compaired to this title. Who else could write a better book that Glens own mother. Even if shes not a author and has chopy sentences and bad grammer, she still and will always know Glen better than anybody. Sad, funny, serious, angry, and confusing are all the emotions that this book holds. The short life of Divine is very well told in this book along with great never before seen picture of Divine. Frances Vukovich Milstead did a excelent job on this project; and lets not forget the co author Steve Yeager who has been following John Waters and Divine scence Pink Flamingos.
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i'm not very good in writing in english(i'm italian),but i can say that this book is SUPERB EXCELLENT FANTASTIC!!!!plenty of rare pictures of DIVINE,beautifully written,a coffee table book!!!i'l give a vote :10++++
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I bought this for my girlfriend; seeing as how she is a huge John Waters/Divine fan. I too enjoy reading about Divine, so I naturally read it before gifting it to her. It is chock full of pictures you will have seen no where else, as Divine's mother wrote it. Some say this is his mother's way of cashing in on her sons fame, and I totally disagree. This book is nothing but full of support for her son and gives an unseen look into a younger Divine. If you have seen and enjoyed Pink Flamingos, you are going to love this.
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