Tuesday, October 9, 2007


(This entry has been editted since it was originally posted)
Did you ever have a pen pal?

Pen Pals were peculiarly kind of cool back in the early to mid seventies. They were almost like reading the private messages in a bottle that floated on the waves of the ocean, eventually opened and read by complete strangers - today it would be the equivalent of internet buddies - but more anonymous.

My Grandma Willi encouraged me went I was a preteen to correspond with a distant cousin in Germany. I cannot remember her name now, but there was a brief period of correspondence between my Michigan home and Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany.

Back in the day pen pal letters were like receiving a one person monologue, written by someone you most likely would never meet. This being the case you could be completely honest and let the real you show. You may even have exchanged photographs also, but even so, you never felt like your pen pal was a real person who could ever turn on you and spill your secrets to the world.

Writing those letters was like writing in your journal or diary except that you mailed it off and several weeks later you would receive a response - and the response may be about something you wrote, but more than likely you received a one sided monologue like the one you sent, explaining your trivial life - either several states away or oceans away.

This is my take on “Celebrity Detox – The Fame Game” written by Rosie O’Donnell (along with ghost writer Lauren Slater) and published by Grand Central Publishing.

Celebrity Detox is not intended to be Hemingway or Poe. It is an intimate glimpse into the every day life of an American Pop-Culture Exclamation Point.

I will tell you up front - I am biased. I love Rosie O’Donnell but I am not in awe of her celebrity or fame. I see Rosie as a peer - as the chunky, loud mouthed girl next door (although she was not chunky back then) who could have been my childhood friend. I had a few chunky, loud mouth girl friends growing up.

Rosie, however, was never just the girl next door. She was the class president and homecoming queen who grew up to be the Queen of Nice, and for a few years was loved and watched my millions.

When I first saw Rosie in the movies I was struck at how my attention was always drawn to her - more so than the stars of the movie like Tom Hanks, Gena Davis, Meg Ryan or Madonna. She truly has the “IT” factor that everyone talks about but few people have.

Still…I am reading Celebrity Detox like it is a personal letter sent just to me. In it she explains (to me) what she has gone through over the past few years and exactly what she has felt at every turn – from deciding to give up her popular television show, spending time with her children and shopping at Target, to reentering the limelight out of respect for Barbara Walters and longing for a mother figure. She discusses the tumultuous times on The View, including the arguments with Elizabeth Hasselbeck (Elizabitch), and her admiration for Joy Behar who felt threatened when she joined with show.

I am currently on page 79 of 209 and I enjoy how Rosie is true to herself, and the reader. She explains in raw detail just what it is like to be a celebrity in this star obsessed culture. She gives a glimpse into the life, and lifestyles, of the rich and famous, and unlike ALL other celebrity written books, she doesn't try to make herself out to be greater or bigger or more special than she really is!

And for that I give the book a HELL YEAH.

I admire and love ya Ro and I can't wait to finish the rest of the book and see where your next step takes you!


Robin said...

Nice re-view, Chris!!!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Can't wait to get mine-it is on the way. Got an email yesterday....

Gpawilli said...

Thanks Robin -

I wish I hadn't gotten it until the weekend..... I read it until about midnight and when I finally fell asleep I kept dreaming about it.

I only slept two hours and am up again. I need to sleep but my head is spinning. That is what happens when I read something I really like just before bed and really don't want to stop reading.


Michele said...

Hey Chris
HELL YEAH!!! is right. Great re-view. I read the whole book yesterday when it was nice & quiet. The kids were in school. Just as I imagined from RO the real deal. She told it just like it is!! You're going to enjoy the rest of the book. I'm looking forward to your next review :)

Gpawilli said...

Thanks Michele -

I only got 3 1/2 or four hoours of sleep last night because of that damn book...

By the time I got to sleep the second time I had finished to page 186...

I need to go finish the book NOW.

cannylass said...

Nice review Chris and now you make me want to run out and buy the book! I like your take on pen-pals. I had two pen-pals when I was young, both of them in the States while I was growing up in England! One (a girl) was living on a farm in Iowa, and the other (a guy) lived in Dallas, Texas! Both of them lived totally different way of life than I did, but we connected on the same level that you mention in your blog! If that's the sort of feeling you get from Rosie's book, then I know I will enjoy it!
Hope you can catch up on your sleep!


manymeez said...

Well said Chris! That is how I felt while reading the book. She has a unique way of making complete strangers feel welcomed in her thoughts and in her world. I feel grateful for being allowed to share in her journey on this big rock! Can't wait to hear more of what you have to say!

Anonymous said...

I dont have the book yet. Sure wish I did. Not sure where to get it and really cant afford it. I dont have the book yet. Sure wish I did. Not sure where to get it and really cant afford it.!!!!!

Bobby said...


I just got the book earlier this evening. Yeah, I have been slacking in my wanting and needing to get the freaking book. Lit some candles, and cracked the window. Fall coolness mixed with lighted aromas filling my room. Soon I was upon page 104. Time flicker away with the candles; unnoticed it escaped me.

As I read C-DETOX I am enchanted by the realism, and references to the past. The idea perplexed me at first, but has woven itself together very neatly when you think about it.

It is not a collage of words to be hear, but to feel and be seen for who you really are. Yes, the stories are something that may entertain many, but the underlying feel from RO is being true to yourself, family, friends, and in her case; Fans.

Pretty early for me to be making assumptions, and I could go a lot deeper. For now, I will read and possibly reread pages I have marked for reference.

So far; I have smiled, laughed, cried, and felt sorrow…….The rainbow just keeps growing!!

Peace brother!