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Ruthless: A Tell-All Book About Oprah Winfrey Paperback – January 23, 2008
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About the Author
Keifer Bonvillain was raised in Grand Caillou, a small town on the outskirts of New Orleans. Keifer is a businessman who enjoys spending quality time with family and friends.
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This book contains many accusations against Oprah Winfrey and I found myself taking sides- and changing my mind several times- as I read each page. The story at first seems far- fetched, but these events really did take place and there are tape excerpts to back everything up. The conversations are very eye- opening, but they also present many questions. Why would this guy call a total stranger and start to tell him all sorts of negative things about Oprah Winfrey? Was this guy telling the truth? Was he just blowing off steam about his dissatisfaction with Harpo? And why did Bonvillain tape record the conversations? Was his mind set on making money from the beginning? At first, it seemed like Bonvillain was, indeed, just looking for a way to make an easy buck by selling some juicy gossip to the highest bidder. But the more I read, the more I started to wonder. It does seem odd that a total stranger would divulge so much information to another person. But on the other hand, why would he say this if it wasn't true? And why would he go on and on about the issues he had with Harpo and Oprah Winfrey if there wasn't at least some degree of truth to the allegations?
Ruthless includes many of the actual taped conversations between Keifer Bonvillain and Harpo attorney Bill Becker. This part of the book is rather repetitive, but also very revealing. Becker seems very worried and also highly suspicious- like he is up to no good and is trying to frame Bonvillain in some way. As you read, you later discover that framing Bonvillain was, indeed, Becker's plan all along. He discussed purchasing book rights to the tapes and was very clear that this is what he wanted to do. Then, when the two men were supposed to meet to discuss the deal, the FBI was waiting to arrest Bonvillain and accuse him of extortion. At this point, I started to feel a little sorry for Bonvillain, not to mention disgust with the Harpo business in general and the FBI. Becker lies to Bonvillain repeatedly and Bonvillain struggles over whether or not to trust him before they ever met. Finally, he decides to place his trust in Becker only to experience the ultimate betrayal in the end. The charges were eventually dropped, but not because the legal system worked to find the truth. The charges were dropped because Bonvillain had secretly recorded the conversations between himself and Becker, proving that he was framed.
Ruthless is not the type of book that will appeal to everyone. I found it a little slow at first, but it picks up momentum near the end and some of its revelations are quite shocking. I never would have thought of Oprah Winfrey as the type who would practice discrimination, but the book claims this is true and that anyone in doubt can look up the facts on the internet by conducting some simple research. A little more scientific evidence, however, would have been helpful and would have made the case stronger. It also would have been nice if the book had included some appendices, notes, etc. at the end of the book. The book's position would have been more believable if it provided some notes on sources.
Overall, Ruthless is a book I recommend reading for its insight into the flawed legal system and, to a lesser extent, its revealing information about Harpo and Oprah Winfrey. The author's hands are not completely clean since he did, after all, decide to record these phone conversations without the other parties consent. But the betrayal he experienced and the false arrest at the hands of the FBI are reason for concern and they point out the many problems with the legal system in the United States. It could be worse, yes. But the lying and framing by the FBI and other legal organizations is something that needs to be addressed more frequently and citizens need to be more fully aware of these practices and their long- term consequences.
Oprah Winfrey has a lot of adoring fans who will attempt to discredit Bonvillain but the book is far more than gossip. Bonvillain gave irrefutable proof that supported the allegations made by Oprah's employee. In addition to that, he provided the actual transcrips of the conversations he had with Oprah's camp-letters, emails, court documents and all. What better way to tell the story than to include the actual transcripts!
The book was an eye opener for me. It made me laugh. I cried. I got angry and happy all in the same reading session. So my advice to anyone would be to read the book.
I have written to the author to thank him for sharing his expeiences with the world.
I hope this information has been helpful. By the way, I still watch Oprah. I just feel like I know who I am watching now.