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My Sister Roseanne: The True Story of Roseanne Barr Arnold Hardcover – September, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
In this biography that continues the seemingly endless saga of the dysfunctional Roseanne, sister Geraldine, the self-proclaimed "business expert behind the star," describes life with Roseanne from childhood through marriage to Tom Arnold. The author relates how they grew up as poor Jews in Mormon-dominated Salt Lake City. She recalls the trials of the teenage Roseanne: committing herself to the state mental hospital and becoming pregnant out of wedlock. In the early 1980s, the sisters started on a 10-year plan that would take them to Hollywood and comedy fame. The big break happened when Roseanne landed a gig on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. The author goes on to show Roseanne as mother, comedienne and TV star of her own sitcom. The marriage to Arnold (including the "incredibly" small size of his penis) is analyzed, as is Roseanne's penchant for kinky sex. The author tells of her own lesbianism and details her break-up with her sister, who fired her by saying, "I don't want you to clean up my shit anymore." The author also strongly denies that Roseanne was a childhood incest victim of their father. Barr and Schwartz (Delorean) have written a sleazy tell-all.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In this work, the author relates the transitions in her own life to events in the personal and professional life of her famous elder sister, Roseanne. The majority of the book recounts the actress/comedienne's career path, all the while illustrating the integral part that Geraldine claims to have played. She cites the varied subjects on which Roseanne has based her character and act-feminism, the working class, homosexuality, and religion, to name a few-and traces their conception to the difficult childhood they shared. The remainder of the text is mainly an embittered joust, chastising her sister for firing her (Geraldine was Roseanne's manager before Tom Arnold came into the picture), for accusing their parents of incest and abuse, and for the generally irresponsible behavior Roseanne has exhibited throughout the arc of her life. While no more objective, Roseanne's account of her own life (My Lives, Ballantine, 1994) is at least more focused and, perhaps, a little less contrived. Still, many patrons will enjoy the dish served up here; recommended for larger public popular culture collections.
Charles A. Weiss, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I have always been enamored with Roseanne because her TV show was one of the only true depictions of a realistic American family. Like many of her fans, I followed her through all of her countless "revelations" and hairball claims during the '90s when she made up story after story for more fame, attention and money.
It wasn't until I read "My Sister Roseanne" that I really learned about this complex and sad woman, Roseanne Barr. But this book is so much more than a typical celebrity biography. It's just as much Geraldine's story as it is Roseanne's. And like her big sister, Geraldine is an intriguing and complex woman and talented in her own right.
Even if this book wasn't about one of my favorite TV stars I still would have enjoyed it though. That's because Geraldine rips the veil of secrecy off of all of Hollywood while she discusses things that have rarely made it into mainstream popular books up until now. She talks about money, contracts, the love of attention and the proverbial fame game years before any other top star had the courage or the will to talk about these things. Her writing is not only factual, but also inspiring and revealing.
"My Sister Roseanne" was published 15 years ago, in 1994 when Roseanne was at her most powerful and most successful (at the time this book came out her show was number-1) and perhaps with all the clout that fame brings a woman who achieves a hit sitcom, Roseanne was able to collectively get this book blackballed. The same critics that panned this book as poultry and subversive were the same ones that praised Roseanne's book that came out 6 months prior to this; yet no one called Roseanne money-motivated or greedy, even though her second autobiography was published less than 5 years after her first.
My main reason for reading this book is because I always like to hear the "back story" or "inside story" or the story that the media doesn't pick up because it's not shocking or scandalous. Instead, this book is a truthful depiction of Geraldine's life and association with her sister, Roseanne.
Geraldine discusses in intimate detail how she was Roseanne's chief writer and business manager for over a decade only to be callously fired in a matter of seconds because Roseanne simply didn't want her in her life anymore. Geraldine also writes about how Roseanne became drunk and inebriated on her own fame and would say and do things for no other reason than to get attention and to stay in the spotlight.
My second reason for reading this book is because I strongly believe that Mr. and Mrs. Barr (Geraldine's parents) got a really bad rap by their ungrateful and dishonest daughter, Roseanne. Geraldine writes about how Roseanne's false claims of incest nearly killed her parents (I honestly cannot imagine anything worse for a parent to go through). In detail she even takes the time to describe how her entire family was affected and afflicted by Roseanne's malicious and deceitful claims.
Perhaps what was least surprising was how Geraldine took the time to even go into specifics concerning her parents' innocence regarding these hateful claims. Yet, this is just one more thing that the media never talks about. It is sad that when someone gets famous their words are held up like concrete that causes the masses to believe anything that is said.
The book also includes several pictures (however none of them are new or unpublished). Although the picture on the cover was a cute picture of Geraldine and Roseanne (I included a scan of it because the 18 people selling it on Amazon didn't bother to put up a picture).
Since the book has been published Geraldine has been vindicated. Roseanne reconciled with her estranged family about 10 years ago and has since recanted all of the hateful and notorious statements that were made, such as being an incest survivor at the hands of her innocent parents. Yet there wasn't a big press conference to state this.
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Geraldine because she told the story that no one really wanted to hear. It's ironic in a way, isn't it? I mean she was really ahead of her time with this book. For its time period it was rather groundbreaking because it came out during a time period when many celebrities (everyone from La Toya Jackson to Patty Duke) were (falsely?) claiming to be victims of abuse. Yet if Geraldine had written the book now it likely would never have been published or seen the light of day. The story is very dated and only people who really want to search out the truth would probably pick it up. Nevertheless it's a fantastic book.