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Not Simply Divine Paperback – August 10, 1994
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Divine was underappreciated and misunderstood, asserts Jay in his well-executed, fully fleshed-out biography of the voluptuous star of such films as Polyester , Lust in the Dust and Hairspray . Certainly Jay, Divine's manager for 10 years until Divine's death in 1988, pulls no punches: "I can say there were many times when I loved Divine. But I'm not sure I can truly say that I really liked him." He goes on to chronicle Divine's addictions to food, marijuana and shopping, and his frequent bouts of selfishness, insensitivity and general loutishness. Yet Jay renders with insight and empathy Divine's love/hate relationship with his parents, his crippling self-doubts, and his frustration at his inability to win respect as an actor. As to be expected given the subject, it's a lot of fun, too. We see Divine giving the Duchess of Hamilton eye makeup tips and attending a party at which he and Jackie Kennedy Onassis were wearing the same dress. "We didn't talk, just glared at each other across the room." Much of the material will be familiar to those who read John Waters's Shock Value , but popular culture mavens, cult film buffs, and fans of this quintessential diva will not be disappointed. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Divine, the fat drag-queen superstar of outre filmmaker John Waters' early films (Pink Flamingos remains the most famous), elicits from some the same visceral abreaction to the very fact that he existed. Such persons see Divine as an affront to moral well-beingindeed, as Frank Zappa used to say, to America herself. To Waters buffs and those captivated by female impersonators, however, Divine is an icon, theatrical outrageousness done to perfection. When he died, Divine was described by some newscasters as the famous character actor, but for most of his career, the descriptor attached to his name was transvestite. The media's and society's inability to see past that designation long irritated Divine and others who admired his work. But, just as Andy Warhol lived long enough to be taken seriously as an artist rather than a pop culture phenomenon, Divine and Waters were beginning to receive accolades for their early work as art rather than outrageous contrivance. Unfortunately, Divine died before his artistic rehabilitation was complete. This sympathetic biography tells his story with grace and humor worthy of Divi himself. May he rest in peace. Mike Tribby