Official Book Club Selection

I’m a huge fan of Kathy Griffin, but I didn’t rush to read her memoir, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, right away. Kathy is pretty much an open book, so I thought her memoir would just rehash things I already knew. I was surprised to find that she really opens up about things I hadn’t heard before, including shocking allegations about her late brother. She also tells all about her problem with binge eating, her divorce, and her botched plastic surgery (complete with horrifying pictures). While she’s brutally honest, she also pokes fun at herself and everyone around her (one chapter is titled “Brooke Shields Don’t Read This”).

Kathy starts with stories of growing up in Chicago with her Irish Catholic family. If you’ve seen her reality show, “My Life on the D-List,” you’re familiar with her charming mom and dad (who sadly passed away). My favorite stories were about her parents’ loving marriage and also how supportive they were of Kathy’s ambitions to be an entertainer. It just amazed me that they would retire and move from Chicago, where they had both lived all their lives, to California so that Kathy could pursue acting. She, of course, also teases her mom about drinking highballs (boxed wine hadn’t been invented yet) and imitates her Chicago accent (CHR-EYE-SSAKE).

Kathy was far from an overnight success – it took her years and years before she landed her role on “Suddenly Susan.” In the book, she talks about those early years and the people she hung out with like Lisa Kudrow, Phil Hartman, and Jack Black. I was surprised by how much training she has, but not by her work ethic because she’s always busting her butt on her reality show. It’s clear that her hard work got her where she is today, and I think she deserves a lot of respect for that. Anyone who wants to be an actor should read about her struggle to make it in Hollywood.

Official Book Club Selection is written in the same way that Kathy talks and I could practically hear her voice in my head as I was reading it. She’s a natural storyteller, which really shouldn’t surprise me because that’s what she does in her comedy. My only complaint is that the chapter about Steve Wozniak was a total snoozefest. The entire chapter is made up of mind-numbing emails they sent each other and I ended up skimming through most it. I will give her points for the hilarious Reading Group Guide at the very end (Sample question: “Kathy’s Irish Catholic grandfather left his wife when she wouldn’t bear any more children for him. What other ways is organized religion completely effed?”).

I think Kathy Griffin fans will love Official Book Club Selection because they get her humor and appreciate her fondness for saying shocking things. If you’re not a fan of hers, I can’t imagine this book changing your mind. If you didn’t think her Emmy speech where she told Jesus to “suck it” was hilarious, then this probably isn’t the book for you. But for members of her huge fan base, this book will make you love Kathy even more.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Buy on Amazon | Publisher: Ballantine Books | Pages: 368 | Source: Library

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