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Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan Paperback – April 25, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; First Edition edition (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060878835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060878832
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,627,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carlip's fresh, funny memoir of growing up at celebrity's edge in Hollywood, accompanied by photos and highlights of current events from the 1960s through 2004, is at once hilarious and heartbreaking. Even before her childhood appearance on Art Linkletter's TV program House Party, Carlip had been bitten by the showbiz bug. With shameless determination, in her teens she pursued friendships with celebrities such as Carly Simon and Carole King, and created her own minor celebrity as a juggler on The Gong Show, an extra in films like Xanadu, and the star of her own rock band. Carlip also turns the lens on her love life and the experience of growing up gay in Los Angeles. Ending the book with an anticlimactic flashback to her appearance on Oprah for her collection of writings by teenage girls, 1995's Girl Power, the author takes a step back from her continuing pursuit of fame to realize that by feeling like she's never "enough," she has been forced to "welcome limitless possibilities by doing everything unaccording to plan." (Apr. 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“[Ms. Carlip’s] curriculum vitae reads like a Cliffs Notes version of American popular culture...” (New York Times)

“Carlip has lived a life that would make Leonard Zelig jealous.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Funny, endearing, and sweet for the soul, this is a lovable memoir.” (Bust Magazine)

“[T]he charm... lies inher whimsical surrender to celebrity culture, balanced byher awareness of how silly it all is.” (The Advocate)

“Quirky... hilarious... this unconventional tale of self-discovery offers an unforgettable ride.” (Pages Magazine)

“An unpredictable, fresh, distinctive memoir ... it will suck you in before you know it.” (Laurie Notaro, NY Times bestselling author of The Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club)

“Colorful? She was a kid Auntie Mame! Her book should be mandatory reading for anybody contemplating fabulousness.” (Paul Reubens, Pee-wee Herman)

“Hillary Carlip is the best kind of eccentric: Genuine, ballsy, funny and soulful. ... She deserves to be our queen.” (Beth Lisick, Author of Everybody into the Pool)

“A hilarious and inspiring read for all of us who were too afraid to be ourselves. Or stalk Carole King.” (Jenny Bicks, Executive Producer, Sex and the City)

More About the Author

Award-winning author Hillary Carlip's fourth book, A la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers (Virgin Books, March 2008) has been met with critical acclaim, receiving a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called the book a "hilarious, delightful, unique achievement." (www.alacartthebook.com)

Hillary's memoir, Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan (Harper Collins May, 2006), is an American Bookseller's Association Book Sense Pick chosen by independent bookstores throughout the country, a Lambda Literary Award finalist in two categories (humor and memoir), and was selected by Borders as one of the Best Literary Memoirs of 2006. (www.queenoftheoddballs.com)

Hillary has been hailed as a pioneer in bringing the voices of teenage girls into the mainstream with her first book Girl Power: Young Women Speak Out (Warner Books, 1995). She was honored by the New York Public Library when the groundbreaking Girl Power was selected for its prestigious "Best Books for Teens" list. When Hillary appeared on Oprah, the hour show was devoted to the book. Now in its eighth printing, Girl Power continues to attract new readers and is still required reading for many Women's Studies courses throughout the country.

Hillary's second book, Zine Scene (Girl Press, 1999), which she designed herself and co-wrote with the renowned author Francesca Lia Block, was included in a show at the New Museum for Contemporary Art in New York City, and won an American Library Association Award.

Hillary is the creator, editor and host of the acclaimed literary website, FRESH YARN. Since April 2004, Hillary has presented personal essays written by a diverse range of all-star writers/performers and personalities. Currently expanding into a huge site for all things writing, FRESH YARN has been a YAHOO PICK, and was picked as a HOT SITE by USA Today. (www.freshyarn.com)

Hillary's writing appears in the anthologies: FIRED!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, & Dismissed (Touchstone Books, 2006) and Not Quite What I was Planning: The Six-Word Memoir (HarperCollins, 2008).

As a visual artist, Hillary has designed and produced websites for major stars (including Jennifer Aniston), authors, musicians, artists, and advertisers, and continues to break ground with her web production and design company Fly HC Multimedia. (www.flyhcmultimedia.com) Hillary has shown and sold her found-object assemblages through several prominent Los Angeles galleries. She has also done private commissions and been featured in group exhibits in New York and Chicago.

As a performance artist, Hillary has written and performed comedy material, as well as juggled and eaten fire as a solo act, and with such noted performers as the Flying Karamazov Brothers. She appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show, teaching Ellen how to eat fire (complete with Liza Minnelli running onstage -- unplanned -- with a fire extinguisher!), and was a winner on the original Gong Show. She also started her own record label, releasing songs she wrote and performed with her all-girl band, Angel and the Reruns. The band's song "Buffy Come Back" became an international cult hit, and Hillary appeared in several films (including Tom Hank's Bachelor Party), and on their soundtracks, with songs she wrote, produced and performed.

Customer Reviews

I read this book in one night, could not put it down.
Ana
It will make you feel like your average, go to school, go to college, get a normal job life was a horrible mistake.
Stephanie Reid-Simons
A unique collection of life stories written in a funny and self-depricating style.
Michael Marler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George McGrath on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the teenager lurking in Laurel Canyon stalking Carole King, to the adult finding a way to forgive Oprah, Hillary Carlip has lived with a capital "L." The facts of her life are amazing enough - how many of us have become "best friends" with Carly Simon, or out-danced Michael Landon and his daughter, charmed Art Linkletter, got a perfect score on "The Gong Show," made love to a cast member of "Xanadu" or wrote a movie for Debbie Gibson of all people? But that she can write about them so brilliantly is even more amazing. You will love this book - her stories of life on the outskirts of celebrity will make you laugh out loud - the stories about her family and growing up "unusual" might also make you cry. You will want to give copies to your friends ("a book? for me?... um, thanks") - no really, it's that good. And, after you've read it the second time, it might inspire you to write about your own life, and to live it with as much nerve as the author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on July 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I call essayist/memoirist Hillary Carlip a female drag queen in the most flattering and admiring way possible. She's witty, a terrific storyteller, and she's led a fascinating life. Always uncomfortable in her own skin, Carlip was a born actress/impersonator who worried about showing her true colors as a childhood TV guest on Art Linkletter's House Party. She has enjoyed careers as a singing telegram performer who could adapt to any situation or moment, an over-the-top nightclub opening juggling act, a Gong Show contestant, a actor, a musician, and probably as dozens of other incarnations/personalities that wouldn't fit in her must-read memoir.

Carlip's life story is told via a series of essays, each of which is introduced by a quick series of facts about "this time in history," and concludes with black and white photos of Carlip and her cohorts during that time period. The essays cover the years from Hillary as an eight-year-old in 1965 to her 2004 work on the John Kerry campaign. There's no way to sum up the years in between, during which a teeanged Carlip befriends both Carly Simon and Carole King, she acts in a movie with Olivia Newton-John,[...]Plus lots, lots, more, including some gripping relationship drama.

This memoir comes recommended by Laurie Notaro of the Idiot Girl fame, and that's darn high praise. It is any reviewer's nightmare, because what can we write to compete with the brilliance of the author's prose? I advise you to stop reading my praise for this memoir and go pick it up already. The opening chapter will suck you in.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
From the hilarious cover of this little treasure of a book through the insightful writing and gifted comedic tales of reality pushed over the edge and happily falling with it, QUEEN OF THE ODDBALLS is not only a book that defies us to read a few chapters at a time, but instead finds us placing this tenderly and warmly funny memoir at bedside for a chuckle and smile before retiring. Hillary Carlip may have found a means to entertain the reader: she has also discovered the path to the heart and conscience and mind that is bound to make some changes in the way the public perceives a gay persona.

Beginning with the year 1965 and continuing through the year 2004 Hillary Carlip provides us with several valuable and insightful sources of information. First, she opens each of her chapters with the events of the particular year during which the brush with celebrity occurred (listing such events as the Vietnam war, Nixon and Watergate, Apollo 15 landing on the moon, the banning of cigarette ads, Roe vs. Wade, Chippendales, Rubik's Cube, Jenny Craig's arrival on the weight scene, Tom Cruise's debut in his underwear, the Rodney King incident, Princess Di's death, the OJ Simpson trial) and then following each of these bongers with an experience of her own relating to such figures as Carly Simon, Carole King, The Gong Show, Olivia Newton-John and making those incidents feel as full of impact as the real historical events. And she decorates her action with scrapbook photographs of a crazy life shared.

Hillary Carlip, like of many of the silent multitude, has spent her life of feeling unnoticed by drawing attention to the fact that she is alive and well, uniquely gifted, hilarious, poignant, and brave.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lori Oliva on May 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
In her book, QUEEN OF THE ODDBALLS, author, Hillary Carlip not only celebrates quirkiness, but she takes the reader on the journey through it. It is filled with sharp, witty, insightful stories that validate every emotion that "outsiders" often feel. I'd like to say that I read the entire book in one sitting, but I can't, because for me, these stories were savored and they punctuated my reading experience with multiple reasons to celebrate my own individuality and peculiarity.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Reid-Simons on October 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
For someone I'd never heard of before, Hillary Carlip manages to drop an awful lot of big-time, not-so-big-time and used-to-be-big-time names. Which is not a complaint. It's actually one of the things that makes the book so enjoyable. A warning though. It will make you feel like your average, go to school, go to college, get a normal job life was a horrible mistake. But then, you probably already knew that.
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