Celebrity Detox: The Fame Game

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Overview

That’s the thing about fame. If you live like a famous person, you will pay the price. And it’s a high price, and a dangerous game, because fame, the drug can sneak up on you in increments. You don’t notice the increments, that they’re increasing until you’re so far away from ever making eye contact with another human being and being "real," that you don’t even know you’re not "real" anymore.

When O’Donnell’s mother was diagnosed with cancer ...
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Overview

That’s the thing about fame. If you live like a famous person, you will pay the price. And it’s a high price, and a dangerous game, because fame, the drug can sneak up on you in increments. You don’t notice the increments, that they’re increasing until you’re so far away from ever making eye contact with another human being and being "real," that you don’t even know you’re not "real" anymore.

When O’Donnell’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1973, ten-year-old Rosie believed that fame could cure her. Though she was still a kid, she had already grasped the cultural connection between talent and money. If she could become famous, the funds would pour in - and buy her mom the miracle cure that could save her life.

Rosie’s mother died, but the bond in her daughter’s mind between stardom and hope survived, propelling 0’Donnell into a career as a talk show host and passionate philanthropist.

At times funny, at others heartbreaking, but always intensely honest, CELEBRITY DETOX is Rosie’s story of the years after she walked away from her top-rated TV show in 2002, and her reasons for going back on the air in 2006. In it, O’Donnell takes you inside the world of talk show TV, speaking candidly about the conflicts and challenges she faced as co-host on ABC’s The View. Along the way O’Donnell shows us how fame becomes addiction and explores whether or not it’s possible for an addict to safely, and sanely, return to the spotlight. She reveals her everyday interactions with her family, and the pressures of being both an ordinary mom and a "personality." She tells of the lifelong admiration she has had for an entertainment icon and of her complicated friendships with her TV colleagues - and talks openly about some dark passages from her own past.

Chronicling the ups and downs of "the fame game," Rosie O’Donnell illuminates not only what it’s like to be a celebrity, but also what it’s like to be a mother, a daughter, a leader, a friend, a sister, a wife - in short, a human being.

I came on The View. This is the story of how it all happened, off stage, on stage, how we struggled to make the show, and then so much more than that.
This is an account of what it means to make a show, and a friend, and an enemy, or two. This is about where we went wrong, and right. It’s a story about stars and celebrities and one woman - me - going off air four years ago and then trying to re-enter orbit, not knowing if she can. It’s the story of wondering whether I could give up the addictive elixir of fame and then go back, wondering if it’s possible to sip instead of slug. It’s a story about so much - how Barbara Walters started out as a sort of mother, and me a child willing to obey, and where we finally ended up, months later - after all the Trump dump and divisive ways of the world we are in, we have still, and nevertheless, at the very end, we have found a way to talk. We found, I have to hope, a friendship that, like any other friendship, is both compromised and connected.


All of Rosie's net profits from this book are being donated to Rosie's Broadway Kids, a program that brings musical theater to New York City public school children.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When Rosie O'Donnell's mother, Rosanne, came down with cancer in 1973, ten-year-old Rosie came up with a way to cure her: She would become famous. With dogged determination, she tried to become a performer, in hope of earning money for Rosanne's treatment. It didn't work; her mother died, just days before Rosie's 11th birthday. What did survive was the need for fame. Rosie went from stand-up to Star Search to her own highly acclaimed television show. Then, like a recovering alcoholic, she quit her own quest for celebrity. This cleansing memoir explains how she did it and why. Intensely honest; wickedly funny.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446582247
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/10/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosie O'Donnell is one of America's favorite celebrities. She was the host of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, one of the most popular shows of the decade, and has also appeared in numerous movies, television sitcoms, comedy specials and, most recently, on Broadway. She was also co-host of The View.
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Read an Excerpt

Celebrity Detox


By Rosie O'Donnell

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2007 Rosie O'Donnell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-58224-7


Chapter One

The Two Bs

My mother loved Barbra Streisand. A lot. She had all her records, plus she watched her whenever she did a talk show or had a TV special. My mother listened to Funny Girl on the blue Victrola cabinet she got at the flea market, a cabinet she stripped and stained herself somehow, alone in the garage. My mom had five kids and her own mother living with her. How did she have time to do anything? I have four kids, a wife, and two nannies, and I am often overwhelmed.

My mother took the time out to fill up on yellow. Yellow is my shorthand for real, for true, for beauty. Yellow means what is good with our world. My mother knew yellow. We watched Billie Jean King together as she beat Bobby Riggs. My mother took us to Radio City to see the Christmas show. My mother pointed out the women who had risen above what it meant to be a woman, back then in the 1960s, and even now too. "Streisand," my mother would say, "look at her, from Brooklyn, look at her now."

"Anything is possible, little girl." My mother told me this, in her own way, usually without words. Irish people are sometimes not so good with words. They are sometimes not so good with feelings. That's why inside I'm a Jew. I want to feel it, talk it, live it, scream it. I want it all out there.

At some point in my childhood, my mother told me about Barbara Walters. Probably she pointed her out to me on the TV. This woman was a weather girl who worked her way up to being co-anchor with Harry Reasoner, who interviewed every world leader, and she did all this at a time when women were told it was impossible. She paved the way for Oprah and Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer and every TV newswoman, every female TV personality for that matter. My mother recognized Barbara Walters's meaning from the get-go.

We used to watch Barbara Walters. My mother recognized that Walters was always imparting two levels of information, the spoken and the implicit. The spoken was the this and that of the day's news. The implicit was that it was now possible for a woman to deliver that news. We watched Barbara Walters's phenomenal rise to the top. We watched, more closely still, the wide wake she left, a path I think my mother wanted me to see. Barbra Streisand, she was about the ultimate; she was genius incarnate. She was a goddess to us, while Walters was of this world. What Barbara Walters proved to us was that women could rise in this world. What Barbra Streisand proved to us was that art was beyond gender, and through it one could rise right beyond this world, and get to someplace better.

Several years ago I left my show. I'd lost the ability to get to the place Streisand had shown me was possible. Six years of celebrity-hood had left me depleted, and I had to find myself, find my art, and find my family again. I went off the air so I could touch down on the ground. And I did. And the ground felt good. I had my kids back-Chelsea, Parker, Blake, and Vivi. I had my wife. Kel and I had started up a gay cruise ship business and twice a year we went sailing with other gay families. We filmed it all and made a documentary of what it means to be a gay family. We screened the documentary one night at the New York Arts Center. This was in April 2006. One month prior to this, March 17, had been the thirty-third anniversary of my mother's death. There were rumors, sometime around then, that Streisand was thinking, at age sixty-four, of going back on tour. It was April in New York City, the trees were putting on green sleeves, boats were back on the Hudson, and my movie was finally done.

And so Barbara Walters came to this first screening. She wasn't a stranger to me. Not only had I spent much of my childhood watching her on TV and, more significant still, watching my mother watch her on TV, I'd also known her as an adult, in my own right. I'd had dinner with Barbara Walters, and she'd even been to our home to interview Kelli once. We were friends in the celebrity kind of way-you know and respect each other-you have dinner every few months. You don't chat on the phone, but there is an undeniable association, a shared intimacy that paradoxically lacks all intimacy. You are members of an exclusive club where everyone speaks a language very few others have been able to attain. Fame.

A few weeks before the premiere of my documentary, I'd been to a party at Barbara's house. This was a party for Mike Bloomberg, and Kel got all dressed up to go. Kel looked beautiful. She always does. I was wearing my standard black pants from Target and my J. Jill clogs, and we went uptown, and we were curious. We'd never seen Barbara Walters's house before. Going there was a fairly big deal. We rode the elevator up and walked into a stunning red room, and there was Barbara, in the center, wearing a beautiful gold lamé evening gown, the same one she probably wore to interview some heads of state. Maybe Idi Amin Dada or Prince Charles or even the Dalai Lama. She looked flawless and stunning in her bright red room, a Julian Schnabel painting on the wall, a double piano, the keys as white as teeth, a man in a tux playing. I was, well, I was enchanted, almost flabbergasted-the color, the beauty, the women with their silk sheaths and the hors d'oeuvres served on trays with scalloped rims. A lot of people might assume that's what celebrities do, go to fancy parties with double baby grands in merlot-colored rooms, but the fact is, I don't. Mostly, especially since leaving my show, I'm home with Kel and the kids, eating string-bean casseroles with fried onions on top, Blake's favorite. I remember a waiter whisked by, offering me some flaky layered thing.

At dinner I sat next to Liz Smith. I think it was during the serving of the second course that in walked this woman, gorgeous, I mean, she looked like Ann-Margret meets Jessica Rabbit. She had a Clinton-like charisma. When I asked, "Who the hell is that?" Liz Smith said, "That's Georgette Mosbacher." Georgette looked at me from across the room. She seemed dreamlike. I said to Barbara Walters, "I have to know her." Barbara may not have taken me seriously at first. "Look, Barbara," I kept saying, "I'm enchanted." I don't know if Barbara arranged it or not, but not long after Georgette came over to me. She leaned in real close and said, "I'm a Republican, don't tell anyone. I'm in the closet!"

People have questioned me about the way I'm drawn to certain people, men and women both. My attractions to other people are not sexual in any sense. That seems hard for people to really believe. There was, for instance, a weekend when Jane Fonda came to visit me. We were in my craft room. I was showing her some art I had made. In one of my collages was a photograph of Madonna. "You two were lovers?" Jane Fonda said, more of a statement than a question. I said, "No, we were never ever lovers. We were sisters from the moment we met." There was never anything sexual about it. This surprised Jane. Her surprise surprised me.

After dinner the night of Barbara's party, I remember singing "Liza With a 'Z'" as a beautiful old-school pianist played on the baby grand. I could feel Barbara Walters watching me. Sometimes that happens. A stare seems to have weight, or touch. Someone's eyes land on you. That night it was Barbara's eyes, mixed up with my voice, as I sang "Liza With a 'Z.'" I was in Barbara's world, and the song was a string pulling her back, I think, to the days when she was younger, when her father, Lou Walters, who owned the famous Latin Quarter nightclub, was alive. I believe that song brought her back to something in her past, and I could see her seeing me, Barbara Walters, the woman my mother admired for the wide wake she made, the woman who, in delivering news, became news herself.

I am drawn to many people in many different ways-sister, friend, buddy, colleague-but to Barbara, I was drawn differently. Perhaps because my mother died when I was still a child, I will forever in certain instances see women who are much older than I am as a child might. Barbara was the age my mother would have been had she survived her cancer. And I also knew Barbara had a daughter, and was therefore a mother. When I saw Barbara, I saw my mother seeing her; I saw the television in our house on Rhonda Lane, and the gray telephone poles supporting miles and miles of wires stretching high up a hill, toward a place we could never get to.

Maybe the song was bringing Barbara back to her past; all I knew was at that moment we shared something real. I wondered what it was. And then the song ended. It was time to go home. We left the red room, and during the many many months I worked on The View I was not invited back.

But the room left an impression on me, so much so that even now, if I close my eyes, I can see still its hue, a red that resists words but that pulses on nevertheless, a color too rich, too much, like the woman herself; she is striking and beautiful, but also blinding, Barbara Walters, her beautiful red giving off a glare that makes one want to wince, in both pleasure and pain, and then to turn toward something softer.

Two weeks after the red room, the party, I invited Barbara Walters to the premiere of my documentary, and I'm glad I did it. I'm proud of that film. It shows gay families as they really are, struggling with all the same things every other family struggles with: sunscreen, diapers, sippy cups, and stubbornness. What makes the film so moving is how grateful the families are to finally have a place, some place, to go together. I'm also proud to have made it at a time when my career was down in the dumps because here I was doing something, creating a whole other thing. There was beauty and truth in that movie, a film about children and parents, about love and human equality and vulnerability. The women who directed it get all the credit. I'm not sure I could have put it together and said so succinctly what it is that gay families are about without their help. The movie ends with a view of the huge ship on the Caribbean blue waters.

And then the lights went back on and people rustled up out of their seats. I was in the lobby and I saw Barbara Walters come out of the theater, crying. "Rosie," she said, "would you ever consider being the permanent co-host of The View?"

I looked her in the eyes. That she was moved moved me. That she had shown working-class women like my mother that a wider wake was possible-that moved me too. I'd been out of show business for four years, a sacred silence this had been, but maybe I was ready to go back. What happened next I didn't plan. I certainly could never have anticipated it and still today I can't explain it. All I know is this. "Barbara Walters," I said. "I'll do whatever you ask."

As it turns out, I did not do whatever she asked. I came on The View, and this is the story of how it all happened, offstage, onstage, how we struggled to make the show, and then so much more than that. This is an account of what it means to make a show, and a friend, and an enemy, or two. This is about where we went wrong, and right. It's a story about stars and celebrities and one woman-me-going off air four years ago and then trying to reenter orbit, not knowing if she can. It's the story of wondering whether I could give up the addictive elixir of fame and then go back, wondering if it's possible to sip instead of slug. It's a revision of a book I did four years ago, just as I left my show, but trashed because it was too soon. I could go on and on, it's a story about so much, but the only thing that matters here, now, is her question, "Will you come?" and my response, "I'll do whatever you ask," and how over the year that turned out not to be true at all, how I did not do whatever Barbara Walters asked, how in fact I did very little of what she asked, how she started as a sort of mother, and me a child willing to obey, and where we finally ended up, months later, two very different women with very different values, living in very different rooms, battered by betrayal but nevertheless doing what women all over the world do best. Barbara Walters and I, after all that happened over those hard months, after all the Trump dump and divisive ways of the world we are in, we have still, and nevertheless, at the very end, we have found a way to talk. We have found, dare I say, a way to love? We found, I have to hope, a friendship that, like any other friendship, is both compromised and connected.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Celebrity Detox by Rosie O'Donnell Copyright © 2007 by Rosie O'Donnell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 47 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    Sensitive, Tender and True

    Some years ago, an L.A. bound plane I was on had to make an unfortunate landing in Texas until some issues were resolved. While somtimes waiting to reboard in stresslful times like this, one has a tendency of bonding with those around you. One person in my small, bonded circle in the waiting area was Rosie O'Donnell. She had already won Star Search and had just finished doing something with Dom DeLuise 'as his daughter I believe'. I recognized her from Star Search and started a conversation with her since I am also an actor. We immediately hit it off and bonded with each other sharing stories of our first films both at Columbia Pictures. She was enthusiastic and I could tell had a heart of gold. Rosie, in that room, gave others confidence in the midst of the layover. She found humor and I remember her smiling alot. I remember thinking, 'what a lovely person.' Of course at the time she was not famous, except for dorks like me, who knew Star Search. She couldn't belive that I even remembered her Burger King skit when she talked too close to the mike. It always made me laugh. All these years later, Rosie lives not too far from me and I used to see her with Kelli at a great little place called The Coven 'great pub' which is long gone. I always wanted to say hi and see if she remembered our little stop over, not only as a fellow actor but as a friend. The last thing most celebs want when they are out is to be bombarded with people, so I always respect that and never did say hi. I have always felt like a little bird with Rosie. I watched her at the beginning both in person and from a distance all through her career, from the streets of Nyack to Hollywood. I have always seen a smiling, good-hearted woman who wants to do good. Celebrity Detox is yet my latest glimpse into Rosie's life and I applaud her candor, honesty and poetic approach to personal expression. The book is very different. It is unique! It is not prose for prose sake but it is intermingled with poetry, journal entries, rants and raves. I do not think Rosie's intention in writing this book is supposed to be a literary masterpiece, but an expression of all that she feels inside. The tenderness of the loss of her mom colored her future in so many ways and it is obvious in her relationships with Barbara Walters and Barbra Streisand. Her sensitivity is very palpable and only those who understand this type of sensitivity will be able to relate to how Rosie has responded to some things .. yes, it can sometimes be aggressive, but I believe we get to that point when you've just had enough! Enough is enough. Rosie comes from a good place. She is not out to harm anyone. Her choices are her choices. Her journey is her journy and because she has dared to be different and often protect and fight for the underdog, she is often misunderstood and the rocks come hurling at her. This book will help you understand Rosie better if you are currently confused by some of the recent events. May God bless her and hold her and her family in the palm of his hands. The proceeds are going to children - what a beautiful thing to do. I highly recommend the book not only because it is full on interesting tidbits on 'the biz' and some of the behind the scenes situations but more than that it offers a perspective that the media sometimes does not allow us to see - what goes on in the heart of someone when he/she is the brunt of a media controversy. How easy to forget that we are human beings! I think Rosie demonstrates that so well in her book. Peace.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Anonymous

    Very disappointed! I thought this book was about rosie and her being on the view. It was not! Sorry i bought it. Save your money!

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    OK Book

    This book was OK. It was nice to see how Rosie handled coming back into the spotlight by becoming a member of The View. I liked how honest she is, but at times, it was hard to follow what she was saying, and I found myself skipping over some things. She was honest about her time on The View, her feud with Donald Trump, her love of Barbra Streisand, and how she felt about her mother's passing away. Overall, if you want to get some insight into who Rosie is, you should read this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    half and half

    For me this book had substance, but I found Rosie repeating herself quite a lot. Therefore, I feel one can read 1/2 of the book and get the same thing out of it as the last half. I found some enlightening episode's of Rosie while she was on The View, yet the constant repetition just bored the hell out of me. Her relationship with her partner seemed so balanced and so right, that its almost unbelievable. Now rightly so, because as of this date they have broken up. I do understand her delemia of "being a movie star", but come on already stop the complaining and do something to change that!!! I admit I did read the entire book, because I kept thinking I'd find out something...something was missing in this book...

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Obsessed with Barbara Walters

    This book is not well written and it's kind of boring. The entire book is Rosie talking about how much she loves/hates Barbara Walters. I got this thinking it might be a funny biography or an edgy take on celebrity. It's neither. Only for the die-hard fans I think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Not what I expected

    You can kind of hear Rosie's sense of humor and style in it but it is very hard to get into and no strong desire to want to pick it up again. Definitely not a page turner. As far as I have gotten, it seems more talking in circles and going off on tangents than actually what it says it is supposed to be about. Maybe it will get better the farther I get into it but I am never eager to pick it up and try to continue. When i run out of my book supply and am desperate to read something, then I will probably get back to it. Glad I only paid bargain book price for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    Celebrity Detox - Everything I Wanted

    Celebrity Detox is, by far, one of the best celebrity autobiographies there is. Rosie O'Donnell is absolutely amazing. Not only is she funny and witty, but she has a way of attracting people to something. Her time at 'The View', though controversial, was a highlight in TV history. And why there was so much controversy at 'The View' is explained in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    I so get it

    This book forced me to open my own eyes. I could not put it down, read from front to back in only a few hours. A must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Someone needs to get off their high horse...

    I have always thought of Rosie O'Donnell as a down to Earth, simple kind-of gal. I always enjoyed her as a comic and TV personality. After reading her book, however I see her in a different light. The entire book I feel as if she constantly BRAGS about how much money she has, her 'wonderful' family and how she was too good to be on 'The View'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2007

    Very REAL !!

    Very honest and real!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2007

    Who is Rosie?

    Not sure I'm going to buy this book. I used to love Rosie but it seems to me she has turned into an attention getter. She is too opinionated and not respectful of others opinions. Not cool! What she did to Elisabeth is unforgiveable. She needs to stand behind her own comments and not expect others to defend what she says!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2007

    Great Book !

    Rosie has wrote a great book, Celebrity Detox. It is a follow up to her laste book, Find Me. If you do not know anything about Rosie please read this book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2007

    A reviewer

    An easy read and well worth your time. A glimpse into the not-so-glamorous Hollywood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2007

    honest and true Rosie

    She is what she is no bull.She puts herself out there.I like the fact that the money goes toward helping kid,and for all the people who say she is too opinionated they are the same people who watch Bill O`Reilly talk about opinionated and he s usually got his facts all wrong and he berates people who differ with him,the only difference is she is a women and God forbid any of us have opinions,at least her facts are researched and thats all she has ever said research and decide for yourself.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    I am so looking forward to reading Celebrity Detox. I admire Rosie for her honesty and courage in sharing her knowledge, beliefs, feelings, and passions. Its unfortunate that people are so judgemental. Just because Rosie may be opinionated it doesn't mean she doesn't respect someone elses opinion. It just means she doesn't necessarily agree with their opinion. If more people stood up for what they believe this country wouldn't be in such a mess. They'll always be people who don't get 'it' or her and they'll always be people who will take what she says out of context and try to make it mean something other than what it really does but I'm sure I am going to love Rosies book just as I do her. Go Rosie!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    Rosie at her most honest.

    A quick read. It was a little scattered but anyone who's read her blog knows that it's pure Rosie. So honest it's painful at times, a beautifully written memoir about a tumultuous time in her life. Bravo to Rosie for donating all of the proceeds to charity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2007

    Just plain awful

    The only redeeming factor of this book is that my $23.00 is going to charity. This book is a joke. Just a bunch of ramblings. Her WORSHIP of Barbra Streisand is disturbing and telling. Do not waste your money. Give it directly to a homeless person as someone else said.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Courageously Honest

    Celebrity Detox is one of the BEST books I have ever read. I could not put this book down. Rosie is brave in the way she chooses to live and has the strength to be honest when it is most difficult. If you do not love Rosie now, read this book and she will capture your heart. She walked away from 50 million dollars!!!!! Rosie is tremendously talented across so many disciplines yet she refuses to lose touch with what is most important. She understands much about human challenges and shows compassion for all in a celebrity world which can be so insulated from hardship. We can all learn from this woman who is so humble about her talent, her success and the way she chooses to live. LOVE YOU ROSIE!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    So Disappointed

    I was looking forward to getting to know more about Rosie. I was completely disappointed in finding out, that this is just a collection of ramblings. I was also disappointed to see that this book was rushed to publication without the benefit of an editor. A little more time, and it would have been a better read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Very self satisfying for Rosie

    She writes the same way she talks and acts - never substantiated by facts only her selfish, hateful, spiteful mean spirited way.

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