Monday, June 29, 2015

The Book of Joan by Melissa Rivers: Review

I was pleasantly surprised at The Book of Joan by Melissa Rivers.  It was a truly funny memoir of Melissa's life with her mother, comedian Joan Rivers.  Although I had seen many episodes of Fashion Police with both ladies, and had also seen Joan perform as a guest on talk shows and television programs throughout my life, I never had really thought of them beyond the footlights.  I loved Joan's  brash, frank, self deprecating humor and the fact that she poked just as much fun at herself as she did at others, but was happy to get a glimpse of her beyond the show business persona.  This book is a portrait of her as a mother, a grandmother and a wife as much as it is a tribute to her groundbreaking career in comedy.  It is also a lovely remembrance after her unexpected death last year.

Melissa Rivers is quick witted and charming in her delivery of anecdotes about her mom.  I enjoyed the fast pace of the book - each chapter delving into her mother's off camera antics and glimpses into her world as a hard working, mom who equally valued her family and her career.

Joan's career relied on her unapologetic nature and this book makes no apologies either.  The author doesn't always flatter her mother but there is never any doubt that she holds her in high esteem and loves her despite her flaws.  I found the many photos, handwritten notes from her mother, report cards and reminisces incredibly heartfelt and touching.  More than anything this book has convinced me to search out footage from the many stand up routines and appearances that are available online to see what a dynamo Joan Rivers was when she appeared on stage.

 I'm glad to have the chance to review this book and have my interest in Ms. River's comedy renewed as well as the chance to appreciate what a fine comic voice and storyteller her daughter is.  Thank you to the kind folks at Blogging For Books for providing me with this copy for review.

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