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My Life, a Four Letter Word: Confessions of a Counter Culture Diva (How to's from the Counter Culture Diva) Paperback – July 6, 2013
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About the Author
Dolores De Luce had been a performer since 1970. She was mentored by the legendary Divine and the infamous genderbending Cockettes. She has performed and written for many musical comedies and was nominated for ‘Best Performer’ by Bay Area Credits Association for Broken Dishes, a musical she cowrote with Amber Waves. Dolores’ autobiographical screenplay, Grace Happens, based on this memoir was semi finalist at the Austin Screenwriting Competition. The Shirt, a story from Gay Widow, a collection of AIDS survivor stories was published in Witness, an A.P.L.A. magazine. Currently Dolores lives in Venice Beach and acts in TV commercials and film, while promoting her daughter Viva's singing career. She can be seen about town reading her stories with Queer Wise, an LGBTI senior writer’s collective, and story-telling at The Moth, Tasty Words, Everybody Loves a Good Story, and other spoken word venues around Los Angeles.
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Top customer reviews
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I have not spent a day in bed reading in - literally - decades, until "My Life..." attached itself to my brain stem and wouldn't let go.
De Luce - not the De Luxe character I'd had the pleasure of seeing on stage back in 'the day' and known peripherally - is, I'm happy to realize after reading her book, a gem of a woman and a thoughtful and entertaining writer.
A real-life Italian Tootsie Pop that, once you lick your way past the bright, hard 'n shiny exterior, rewards you with a sweet, warm chocolate center... I think I fell in love a little.
Her book is almost a collection of volumes: the story of girl forced to choose between her own independence and her family; the tale of a mother raising daughter Viva in a later-day Oz full of fairy godmothers and high-flying monkeys; the history of an era that rivals ancient Rome and 20s Paris for "best continuous back-stage cast party" staring the most insane, talented and doomed gaggle of exotics ever; a sad, ravaged nightmare of illness and death and, finally, a lost girl becoming a wise, thoughtful woman.
And funny. Really funny.
There are some heart-rending moments as she shares personal family history: her father disowns her after she has a baby who is half-African-American, and the reconciliation with her family afterward proves difficult. And when we get to the 1980s, it is difficult to read about many of her beloved friends dying of AIDs.
There are also many moments of humor. Dolores tells her story with blunt, sharp honesty and wit. Her natural sweet nature comes through as well. Reading this is like chatting with her over tea; her voice jumps to life on the page.
If you enjoyed this one, I highly recommend her most recent book, BLOW JOBS: A Guide to Making it in Show Business, where the adventures continue!
DeLuce emerged from an Italian-American childhood in 1950s New Jersey, a kind of dark ages, into both the light and madness of California in the 1960s. As a young woman, she had a self-destructive streak -- but from the start you know the narrator is no longer that lost young woman, but is writing from place of understanding that gives it all meaning. This is a great read and a wonderful recreation of an important era.
On the other hand, there is a lot of interesting content in the novel. I feel like it is the story of a person running through a field of bullets. You're sure at some point they'll be hit and that'll be the end, but somehow (despite the grazes and falls) DD makes it to the end.
If you are familiar with the author, I think that helps make this an easy read. I was not and that's possibly why it was difficult for me to really get into the novel