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Posted August 9, 2014
A Myrt's Review Mama Rose's Turn - The True Story of America
A Myrt's Review
Mama Rose's Turn - The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother by Carolyn Quinn
Forever immortalized in the musical 'Gypsy', as the ultimate stage mother, Rose Thompson Hovick's life was so much more than that of the single minded, brassy, iconic 'Mama Rose' of stage and screen. Both her famous daughters, child star and actress June Havoc and infamous stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee wrote books about their lives which presented wildly different perspectives of their childhoods. Gypsy's more humorous book was used as the very loose basis for the musical 'Gypsy, A Musical Fable' but the musical was taken as fact and the legend of Mama Rose, the stage mother from hell began.
The book is extremely focused and well researched. Quinn is definitely a fan of Rose's. The book gives a detailed look at Rose, starting with her European grandparents' arrival in the Midwest and Rose's childhood in North Dakota to Rose's first teenage pregnancy (a 12 pound Gypsy!) and eventual taking of her two daughters on the road. Rose's antics often go to the extreme and it's easy to see how she became the standard for all stage mothers to come to be measured by. Rose was volatile, manipulative, scheming and overwhelming at various times. She was banned from several venues where her daughter Gypsy was working. Rose was even accused of murder several times. In her later years she became a lesbian and never really had any strong male relationships. Most of her relationships, particularly with her daughters, were dysfunctional. She was always restless, working her next plan or scheme.
The book gives not only an in depth look at an intriguing woman and her attempts to make her children into stars but it also provides a fascinating look inside the days of vaudeville and burlesque. It is definitely a good read about an unusual woman and the times she lived in.
I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Posted December 23, 2013