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Poisoned Heart: I Married Dee Dee Ramone (The Ramones Years) Hardcover – June 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix Books (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597776122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597776127
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With an over-reliance on exclamation and cliché, but a proper dose of attitude, King pulls back the curtain on her life with Dee Dee Ramone (1951-2002), founding bassist of the first punk rock band and "the baddest and loudest boy in the room." Born Douglas Colvin, King's Dee Dee is a creature of extremes: obsessed with violence, he spent years collecting knives and martial arts weapons, but also made love to King up to five times a day. Married to Dee Dee from 1978 to 1995, King's adoring account doesn't gloss over the physical and mental abuse she suffered-including the night Dee Dee almost beat her to death-or her husband's multiple drug overdoses (the only episode she does sugarcoat is his ill-conceived foray into rap). She also shares her own struggle with brain cancer, but her focus is on the mayhem, much of which is amusing and highly opinionated; she portrays late guitarist Johnny Ramone as a tyrant and producer Phil Spector as a psychopath. Unfortunately, this quick read misses the opportunity to put the Ramones' significant body of work into greater context. Though her narrative can be compelling, King's amateur style may be too DIY even for Ramones fans. 24 color photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

"I'll always be grateful to Vera and thank her for loving and taking such good care of my son for so many years. Her story tells it all and this final tribute to Dee Dee will keep his legacy alive long after he's gone. I know he's smiling down from heaven."

––Doug's Mom



"Vera Ramone was Dee Dee Ramone's wife, lover, punching bag, babysitter, and support system. In this riveting memoir of a romance on the edge, she chronicles both the recklessness and the poetry of a disturbed but talented punk god."

––Michael Musto, Village Voice



"The sweet, heartbreaking tale of Vera Ramone's shattered romance with Dee Dee unflinchingly told from the flickering gloom and glitter of the Punk bunker."

––David Dalton, founder of Rolling Stone magazine and author of El Sid: Saint Vicious



"As Dee Dee Ramone's wife, Vera Ramone King was half of punk-rock's royal couple––but at tremendous cost. Her inspiring memoir 'Poisoned Heart,' while vividly portraying a marriage savaged by the late Ramone's mental illness, also shows King to be a true survivor, not only of an abusive relationship but one of the most exhilarating periods in rock 'n' roll history…. 'I have chosen, rather than to cry over what I've lost, to smile about what I've had,' she concludes, her own heart anything but poisoned."

––Jim Bessman

Billboard Magazine

Author, "RAMONES––AN AMERICAN BAND"



"King contends that Dee Dee was the soul of the band, and while she provides plenty of harrowing instances of his cruelty, she also depicts him warmly as a Peter Pan man-child 'musical genius with a heart of gold.' His overdose at age 49, in between the too-early deaths, of co-founding bandmates Joey and Johnny, is truly tragic––if seemingly inevitable. But while King understandably worries about a Ramones Curse, she herself has clearly survived: 'I have chosen, rather than to cry over what I've lost, to smile about what I've had,' she concludes, her own heart anything but poisoned."

––Jim Bessman

Billboard Magazine

Author, "RAMONES––AN AMERICAN BAND"



"As one who was really there and lived to tell the tale, Vera Ramone has written a beautifully tragic love story about her life with Dee Dee Ramone and the band. It's all in here, sex and drugs and rock and roll and death. Vera's book is a great read, a real page turner and hey, Daddy-o, it's all true!"

­­­––Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club





"Like the Honeymooners on speed, Vera and Dee Dee's knockdown drag-out coupling is full of escapades, cataclysms, and good old-fashioned affection. A love story for the ages…."

—Lenny Kaye, author of Waylon: An Autobiography



"Personally knowing Vera and Dee Dee for many years, Vera finally blows the lid off her explosive marriage to the punk icon. Her compelling story is told with brutal honesty and heartfelt compassion right down to the tragic ending. Can't wait for the movie…!"

—Bob Gruen, author and legendary rock photographer



"Vera truly peels back the curtains in her exciting yet tumultuous memories while reliving the wild side of the '70s punk extravaganza through the eyes and heart of a punk bride. A real lesson in passion and survival."

––Keith Green, famed New York rock photographer

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Customer Reviews

A great book for Ramones' fans.
R. Cummings
She tells a complicated and difficult story with grace, class, plenty of humor, and an abundance of love.
Rebeca Thorvund
Vera does a good jod of telling her story and you just don;t want this book to end.
Gilbert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rebeca Thorvund on March 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book I'd hoped would be written. After reading Dee Dee's three books, "Please Kill Me", "On The Road With The Ramones",and seeing the excellent documentary "End Of The Century", I wondered the tale Vera Ramone, Dee Dee's beloved first wife, would tell. She does not disappoint. Vera whisks us back to those heady NYC days when The Ramones were cutting their teeth at CBGB and gives us an insider's view as to what it was like to live with and love the heart and soul of the band. We are privy to their meeting and falling head over heels in love and learn of the blissful hopes Vera had for their future.
Her story is compelling. She soon learns that the love of her life is a hardcore heroin addict who also suffers from bipolar disorder. And The Ramones, while certainly the hardest working band in show business, are nothing short of dysfunctional. Dee Dee, while being amazingly prolific and a true poet, is prone to violence and shocking mood swings, while also having a huge open heart, a wonderful sense of humor, and loving and adoring Vera from the very depths of his soul.
Vera lets us into her private memories and shares with us what it was really like to be caught up in the whirlwind. She doesn't shy away from the rough stuff yet doesn't dwell on it, either. Her matter-of-fact recollections show she harbors no bitterness towards Dee Dee and, in fact, loves him still. She shares plenty of good times, wonderful photos, letters and lyrics in Dee Dee's own hand, and it is crystal clear that she loved him totally, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Theirs was a true love story and Vera really adored Dee Dee for who he was and accepted him wholeheartedly, flaws and all.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Georgieann Bogdan on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you care about The Ramones--and you have to care about The Ramones, one of the great bands of all time--then you must read Vera Ramone King's wonderful "Poisoned Heart." King's memoir of her tumultuous marriage to Dee Dee Ramone chronicles both a passionate love story and a brilliant band during its prime. King, who thought she was living the "ultimate dream" of a rock star's wife, shows us the dynamics of a band of punk rockers creating great music against the indifference of managers and the music industry at large. Her dream required a selfless love--she served as a chauffeur, maid, cook, assistant, and punching bag to her husband--but through it all King remained the Queen of Punk. Despite the insanity of the punk world, King's story reveals a woman of great integrity. This memoir told by a woman unbowed by brain cancer is essential reading for all lovers of passionate music and the complicated men and women who create it. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PhylRoch on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Poisoned Heart is an intense, compelling page-turner. I was deeply touched by Vera King's honest and emotional account of her life with Dee Dee Ramone. Poisoned Heart is a must-read even for readers who have no interest in or connection to the world of 70s punk rock: it's one of the great love stories. Dee Dee may have had a Poisoned Heart, but Vera's is pure & open and their story is told from the perspective of her huge heart. You will get to know Vera herself from her book. The way Vera unreservedly loved & cared for Dee Dee is awe-inspiring and I have the utmost respect for her and wish her only the best. The book is also chock full of wonderful historical and personal photos. I highly recommend you buy and read Poisoned Heart - you will love it, and you will love Vera. In fact, I'm re-reading it right now. GO, Vera, and RIP Dee Dee!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bill Clark on April 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up initially because I'm a fan of The Ramones, but I was surprised. There is so much more to Vera's story than rock music or punk history. A very personal account of the years of being married to one of the most charismatic bass players in punk history, along with interesting storys of being on tour with and knowing the other members of The Ramones. Vera tells both the ups and downs of being married to Dee Dee, and shows the many sides of him, some we knew and some we didn't. She seems fair in her portrayal of him. She is honest about the difficult times and is very sentimental of the good times. The last chapters are very moving, right down to the LAST SENTANCE of the last page. If Dee Dee was still with us, I feel that he'd be happy with this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lori Eisenkraft on June 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Poisoned Heart is well-crafted, written from the heart, and makes you rethink so many things you've already read somewhere else. Vera's pictures, which are priceless--the wedding pics alone are entrancing, because you can see all the love in the world in Dee Dee's eyes, focused completely and only on Vera. You'll also get a look at touring, their home at Christmas, and their bedroom--you never even began to imagine their home, did you?

And there's tons of other stuff you'll discover only here, such as their huge, gorgeous country home; that Dee Dee liked his dinner ready when he got home; how much he loved his in-laws; how much he loved the Ramones....I'm not going to tell you any more, you need to discover this whole other side of Dee Dee Ramone by yourself.

What's so different about this volume from all the other Ramones books available--including Dee Dee's own--is that Ramone-King presents both Dee Dee the married man and Dee Dee the punk of legendary Ramones fame.

Vera's thoughtful, steadfast words give you the multifaceted story that no one else can, while her photos tell the story of all the love and good times. This book IS Vera, Dee Dee, the Ramones, life as they knew it, and life as they lived it.
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