Jen-X : Jenny McCarthy's Open Bookby Jenny McCarthy, Neal Karlen
She's telegenic, brash, witty and spirited. And now she's starring in a new sitcom as part of NBC's Nielsen-bursting "Must See TV" lineup, plus she has her own smash-hit variety show on MTV. She is Jenny McCarthy -- the "It" Girl of the '90s -- and this is a look at her wild life via her "diary." Welcome inside the crazy world of Hollywood, sudden stardom and rabid fandom in this heavily photographed, illustrated and designed "diary." An intimate peek inside the mind of the woman People named as one of the 25 Most Intriguing of the year, Jen-X showcases Jenny's offbeat wit, skewed sensibility and gentle wisdom -- traits that have already won her legions of fans and admirers. The second of four daughters born to a housewife and a steel-plant foreman on Chicago's blue-collar South Side, McCarthy left college and made a cold call to the Playboy offices in the Windy City, becoming 1994's Playmate of the Year. From Singled Out to her highly rated MTV sketch-comedy show to her NBC sitcom, McCarthy is a star on the rise, with not a hint of an end in sight as to how high she'll go. Vividly capturing all of the day-to-day drama, romance, heartbreak, action and humor of being Jenny, and filled with loads of wild new photographs specially commissioned for this book, Jen-X, like the woman herself, is headed straight for the top.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1 ED
- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.49(d)
Read an Excerpt
Okay, let's get one thing straight right from the start, before we begin getting into the meat and potatoes of my inspiring story of rags to farts to riches and farts. Yes, my real name is Jenny McCarthy. Three years ago I was an overweight, big-haired, lower-middle-class total loser from the South Side of Chicago who'd dropped out of Southern Illinois University because I was $20,000 in debt on credit cards and couldn't afford to pay either my rent or my tuition.
When Playboy found me, or more accurately, when I found Playboy, I was living at home with my dad, who is a foreman in a steel plant, and my mom, who until recently ran a tiny beauty shop out of our kitchen. Out of four daughters I was the complete dork, the only child in our devoutly Catholic family who wasn't awarded a scholarship to college because of her grades or athletic ability.
Perhaps you know me best as the 1994 Playboy "Playmate of the Year," or from my role as the zookeeper on MTV's Singled Out, or as the girl sitting on the toilet in the ads for Candie's shoes, or as the star of the new NBC sitcom Jenny. Whatever.
I'm me. And I still think of myself as a good girl with her dyed roots still firmly planted in the Midwest soil where I grew up. I'm twenty-four years old, and I've only been with five meneach a committed boyfriend, only one connected to show business.
After taking it all off for Playboy, I made the cover of seemingly every other magazine in the solar system the old-fashioned wayby working harder than anybody else and hoping, as always, for the best. I had no idea that Singled Out, the MTV dating game show, would hit a nerve among Generation Xers not seen since Kurt Cobainplugged in his guitar and sang "Smells Like Teen Spirit." (In truth, my favorite singers are Barry Manilow and Enya. I was never into greasy rocker dudes with drug problems.)
That said, I'm not going to pretend that I'm a rocket scientist.
Instead of becoming a campus honey, I was a bratwurst queen who sold sausage sandwiches for minimum wage over the counter at a Polish delicatessen in the same neighborhood where I grew up as a friendless geek. At nineteen, I'd already been turned down by every modeling agency in Chicago as a fat broad with bad hair who'd be lucky to ever get a boyfriend, let alone a career in front of a camera.
Now every time I make the cover of another magazine, I still think of that bitch who worked as the head booker at the largest modeling agency in Chicago, who told me as she put her heel on my metaphorical butt and kicked me out of her office, "You'll never make it in modeling. You look like a barmaid."
Whatever. Bite me.
Now I'm not playing for sympathy. But even though I didn't have money or connections or anybody's faith in me, I always had my soul, my spirit, my family, and my belief that there was going to be more to my life than a job pushing kielbasa-and-onion sandwiches to steelworkers named Belinski.
Still, I was realistic. If I was lucky in this life, I figured back then, I would find a good South Side Chicago blue-collar husband who would help me raise a brood of happy kids inside a little house surrounded by a white picket fence that would keep all of the world's bad karma out, or at least the loathsome peckerheads from my neighborhood from asking me to visit them in the backseat of their beater for a fifteen-minute date. Gentlemen, please!
Somedays now, when I've just been stabbed in the back by another Hollywood scumbag, or by some reporter who's pretended that he's my friend then written stuff about me being a bimbo or a slut that's made my mother cry, I still wonder if that little picket fence is what I should have aimed for.
And yet, back in those not-so-long-ago days when I didn't even place as the most beautiful woman in my family, I used to daydream a lot. After my parents went to bed and our little house was my own, I'd watch TV and fantasize about being in show business. Not famous, just working in front of some camera somewhere.
I never dreamed about being the next Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield or even Pamela Leesome big-bosomed chick who turned all the men's heads and who made all the women jealous. Rather, I wanted to be one of my two all-time heroes, Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett. My goal was never to become celebrated for allowing strangers to gaze at magazine pictures of my airbrushed body.
I wanted, above all else, to make people laugh. I noticed in high school that as long as people were laughing at my goofy jokes or silly faces, they weren't making fun of me, teasing me, calling me bitch or whore or slut, or lying to the world that I'd slept with everybody in the Chicago Bears secondary (I've always preferred men who, in real life, play offense.)
It's been said that show business is just like high school but with money. How true. Indeed, I'm still not sure what made me feel worse about myselfhaving high school classmates prank-call my mother and tell her that I was screwing every man, boy, and electrical appliance in Chicago, or every other Hollywood producer all of a sudden manufacturing parts featuring nudity when I auditioned for them.
Much more, I told off every Hollywood slime mold who invited me to lie down on his casting couch. Sorry, busters. I know it sounds like naive bull, but my belief in God, the truth, and that karmaeither good or badalways comes back to you is what got me through those times in Hollywood when all anybody wanted to do was feel me up or throw me down.
There's much more to me than the woman you've seen with the goofy expressions squirting mustard on hot dogs at you on the covers of Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Playboy, and TV Guide. This is the real me, an open book.
But first a warning to those who've exploited me or screwed with me in the past: Some names will be named, and a few actions will be described in sometimes gruesome and (I hope) hilarious detail. I may be spiritual, but I'm nobody's victim. I'm not out for payback hereI believe in the old Hindu saying, "If you're out for revenge, dig two graves."
But mostly I wrote this book as a record of my life from before and after I went to Hollywood, for the day when I can't remember anymore whether what I remember was really true versus what my press clippings said was true.
It's funny, but one of the things that has marked me as "different" out in Hollywood is that I actually love reading books. Nobody important out here really readsthey usually just hand books and scripts to an underling for a page of "coverage" to explain exactly what is going on in a story.
One item that these clippings haven't picked up on is the fact that I love to read. Now, on those rare occasions when I get a week off, I like nothing better than to find a beach and haul along a suitcase full of books about karma, existence, God, and anything that doesn't have to do with how many Nielsen points one needs to keep his or her television show from getting canceled.
My own book, boys and girls, first tells about my life on a day-to-day basis: the crises, the joys, the tears, me bitching at my boyfriend. You will learn what gives me diarrhea (just about everything.) My life, like this book, is "open"you can flip to any event in here and read about me without worrying about what came before. It will all make sense.
Meet the Author
Jenny McCarthy is the former host of the enormously popular MTV dating show "Singled Out." She has starred in many films, including Dirty Love, the Sundance 2005 film that she also wrote. She is the author of several New York Times bestselling books such as Baby Laughs: The Naked Truth About the First Year of Mommyhood and Louder Than Words: A Motheras Journey Healing Autism. In 2002, McCarthy and her director ex-husband John Asher had their first child, Evan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
The telling of her story is very jumbled, she jumps around a lot and repeats several themes over and over again. I also thought some of the graphics were distracting, but I think they were trying to give the book a comic-book feel. She is very honest about the details of her life though, and you can't help but like her as you read along.
Jenny McCarthy is my idol. I have so much respect for her, and I learned a lot about her after reading this book. It give a good look on teenagers lives, and some good advice. This book is funny and also very interesting.