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Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers Hardcover – November 15, 2016
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"Highly readable.... Bennetts' clear-eyed biography shows why this ambitious, 'stubbornly paradoxical' woman who 'wasn't ready to cede the spotlight' continues to command our attention. (3 out of 4 stars)"―Jocelyn McClurg, USA Today
"You may think you know Joan Rivers, but I'll bet you'll be shocked by the revelations in Leslie Bennetts's irresistible biography. Before there was a women's movement or much hope for a woman in stand-up comedy, Joan made it by ridiculing everything she craved, from beauty and respectability to fashion and power. With unmatched energy and an ambition that made Napoleon look like Gandhi, she broke the boundaries of taste and commonsense-and widened the path for us all."―Gloria Steinem
"Joan was a great friend of mine and this is one hell of a book. A terrific read from start to finish, it captures Joan completely. Five stars."―Larry King, television and radio host
"The story of Joan Rivers is also the story of the trials and tribulations faced by talented and ambitious American women for decades, and Leslie Bennetts tells her story in riveting, surprising, heart rending, and hilarious detail."―Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles
"Leslie Bennetts has delivered a big, juicy biography of comedy's First Lady that takes the reader behind the scenes in the male dominated entertainment industry. That would be fascinating enough, but what stays is a portrait of a woman whose drive is fueled almost entirely on self-loathing. We know by now that most comics are in great pain-this account understands the high cost of all of those outrageous over-the-top screamingly funny classic Joan Rivers zingers."―Betsy Lerner, author of The Bridge Ladies
"[An] affectionate and entertaining bio."―O, the Oprah Magazine
"In this first detailed biography of Rivers since her death, Bennetts reveals the woman behind the schtick. It's all here.... Celebrity mavens and fans of well-written biographies will enjoy this title."―Rosellen Brewer, Library Journal
"[A] fascinating biography."―Entertainment Weekly
"Undeniably dishy.... A fat and full book that will satisfy fans who want all of Joan in one place."―Ilene Cooper, Kirkus Reviews
"Thoroughly researched and eminently readable.... Last Girl Before Freeway is likely to be, for our time, the definitive biography of [Rivers]."―Jonah Raskins, NY Journal of Books
About the Author
Leslie Bennetts is the author of the national bestseller The Feminine Mistake as well as a longtime Vanity Fair writer and former New York Times reporter. At Vanity Fair she wrote many movie star cover stories in addition to articles on subjects ranging from priest pedophilia to U.S. antiterrorism policy, and she was the first woman ever to cover a presidential campaign at the New York Times. Bennetts has also written for many other magazines, including New York, Vogue, More, The Nation, and Glamour.
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of an icon who can only be described as complex,conflicted, troubled, generous, mean,
loving and ofttimes vicious. As I said, Rivers was complex.
Since I was and am a huge Rivers fan, the book, because it is unrelenting
in its trying to be objective in its reportage, often told me more than I wanted
to know, Still, nothing will ever dissuade me from believing Rivers was a gift too
Although I found the book to be repetitive in many instances, I do think that overall this is probably the most thorough bio that will be written about Rivers and is balanced in that it exposes her accomplishments and successes as well as her excesses and failures.
When this book came out, I couldn't believe the stars boycotting it, begging people to NOT buy it OR even READ it! They basically said it was all lies and misquoted and that Leslie Bennett's was making money off Joan's life and death in a scandalous evil way.
As I read it, I found their warnings unfounded, I felt that this book was a TRIBUTE to Joan! It hammered home NUMEROUS examples of just how cutting edge and trailblazing Joan was in hundreds of ways. Especially for women, Ms. Bennett's demonstrated how many doors Joan kicked down to open for future comedians regardless of age and size and beauty.
I found the book very well written and entertaining. However, I'm not Melissa or Cooper or anyone remotely close to how things truly were but many of the people that contributed their stories and opinions were at some point. I never felt the author diminished Joan's talents or reputation by fabricating things. Give the book a chance, if you don't want to buy it, borrow it from a friend or library. You too will be engrossed in it like I was!
I had no idea of the struggles, pains and insecurities that plagued her. She made the humor seem effortless. The jokes about her background seemed made up or overemphasized. This book tells her story--from her amazing generosity to her anger and resentment to those whom she felt had betrayed her. I never realized how driven she was to be her vision of herself. Leslie Bennets has done a great job of showing many sides of Joan, leaving you loving her -- flaws and all.