Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits

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From the beloved teen star, talk-show host, and media personality, an uplifting and revelatory memoir about turning forty, losing weight, and reinventing oneself at any age.Readers first met Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray. They fell in love with her as the spunky, no-holds-barred host of The Ricki Lake Show. And they came to respect her as the executive producer behind The Business of Being Born, a groundbreaking documentary on childbirth in the United States. Now, Ricki’s many fans will ...
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Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits

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Overview


From the beloved teen star, talk-show host, and media personality, an uplifting and revelatory memoir about turning forty, losing weight, and reinventing oneself at any age.Readers first met Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray. They fell in love with her as the spunky, no-holds-barred host of The Ricki Lake Show. And they came to respect her as the executive producer behind The Business of Being Born, a groundbreaking documentary on childbirth in the United States. Now, Ricki’s many fans will get to know her in a whole new way.

In this intimate, bold, and relatable memoir, Ricki takes readers into her childhood home in Westchester County, where her parents—once liberal Jews—became born-again Christians. She’ll reveal the sexual abuse she endured, and the subsequent food issues and weight problems spawned from that trauma. She’ll pull back the curtain on her life as a celebrity, from Hairspray through her decade-long talk show to the reinvention of herself as an author and filmmaker on the subject of alternative childbirth. Along the way, Ricki has weathered near bankruptcy, a brutal divorce, and a string of broken romances, while also giving birth to two sons and raising them as a single mother—circumstances that would knock some of the strongest off their feet. But not this fighter.

Timed to coincide with Ricki’s return to the television screen with a brand-new talk show in 2012, this inspiring memoir gives readers an empowering example of the way one woman learned to take responsibility for her emotions, trust her gut, and turn an unconventional life into an unparalleled triumph.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reminiscent of her eponymous talk show, Lake gossips about her accomplishments and failures using her weight as the through line. After a trusted handyman sexually abuses her at age seven, she turned to food to become “invisible.” Her parents callously glossed over the problem, and she ate her way to 200-plus pounds while studying theater. Lake abandoned college when director John Waters sought “a fat girl who can really dance.” Neatly landing the part of Trudy Turnblad, she cheerfully recalls her days filming Hairspray, learning life lessons from cult actor Divine. Emerging stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Christian Slater, and Johnny Depp decorated the early Hollywood days while Lake’s weight issues convey more authenticity: “Some days I thought I was attractive; other days, I knew I was disgusting.” As job offers dried up, she dieted and got a breast reduction. One-hundred pounds lighter, 23-year-old Lake got her own show that ran for 11 seasons. Instead of dissecting its cultural relevance, Lake concentrates on love and sex. Her passion for her birth documentary, The Business of Being Born, switched her focus to feminism for a beat but soon she was back to body issues as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Minus much scoop, Lake gives a glimpse into what makes this self-proclaimed alpha-woman tick. Agent: Andy McNicol at WME. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A sometimes-humorous, self-reflective chronicle of a triumphant journey through a troublesome childhood, chaotic young adulthood and fulfilled middle age." —Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
Actress, talk-show host and documentary film producer Lake is returning to television. Is there a better way to crank up the excitement level for a new talk show than with a tell-all memoir for your fans? The author begins with a discussion of her abuse as a 7-year-old by the handyman in the family's basement while her mother sat upstairs. Her parents' lack of response to her trauma laid the groundwork for her emotional problems, manifested in Lake's overeating habits. "To this day," she writes, "I believe that it was my parents' silence in the wake of the abuse--even more than the abuse itself--that wounded me so badly." After seeing a Broadway production of Annie with her grandmother, Lake was determined to pursue her dream of becoming an actor. During her freshman year at college, Lake landed a starring role as Tracy Turnblad, a "fat girl who can really dance," in John Waters' Hairspray. From then on, the author's life became a series of professional and personal successes followed by calamities and weight gain. At one time Lake weighed 260 pounds, but she landed a gig as the host of a provocative talk show, which aired for 11 years. She married and had two children, but her marriage ended in a nasty divorce. The births of her children changed Lake's life, and she became a passionate advocate for the birthing rights movement, resulting in her documentary, The Business of Being Born. Following numerous failed relationships, author found a man who gives her "truly unconditional love." For readers who revel in the vicissitudes of the lives of media personalities, Lake's narrative will be a treat. A sometimes-humorous, self-reflective chronicle of a triumphant journey through a troublesome childhood, chaotic young adulthood and fulfilled middle age.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451627176
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Ricki Lake

Ricki Lake is an actress, television host, and the executive producer of the documentary, The Business of Being Born. She is also the author of Your Best Birth. She lives with her two sons in Los Angeles.
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Read an Excerpt

1

I’ll never be anything special.

I grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, a small town in Westchester County not far from Manhattan, but far enough away from the city that Manhattan always seemed like an exotic and magical place. We were the classic 1970s family of four. My father, Barry, worked as a pharmacist; my mother, Jill, was a stay-at-home mom; I was their firstborn; and my sister, Jennifer, came along just fourteen months after I did.

A few years ago, an interviewer for a parenting magazine asked me, “What’s the best trick your mother ever taught you?”

“How to heat up a Hungry Man for dinner!” was my reply.

The person from whom I did get unconditional love was my father’s mother, my Grandma Sylvia Lake. Doesn’t the name sound as if it should belong to a famous person? It just belongs in lights:

“AND INTRODUCING . . . THE EFFERVESCENT SYLVIA LAKE!”

Grandma Sylvia was nothing short of a movie star to me. She looked like a cross between Patricia Neal and Gena Rowlands—all rosy cheeks and lipstick and glasses—the ultimate glamorous matriarch. Her hair was always “done,” her jewelry always big. She seemed to give off some otherworldly light, since she positively glowed with energy and vibrance. Even though I was short and rotund, and the details of my everyday life were often gray and average, Grandma Sylvia taught me to look at the world through a rainbow-colored prism. (To a big thinker like Grandma Sylvia, rose-colored glasses are for amateur optimists.) Grandma Sylvia was always telling me that I was the smartest, the funniest, the prettiest. She called me “the most talented girl in the world,” even when all I could do was half a cartwheel.

Grandma Sylvia shared her love of the arts with my sister, Jennifer, and me, taking us to the theater in Manhattan almost every weekend. I can still recall every spectacle I ever witnessed with her—from the opera to the ballet, Annie to Pirates of Penzance. I remember the way my heartbeat quickened as the house lights began to dim, the pit orchestra weaved together the first phrases of the overture, and the burgundy velvet curtain started to twitch, then glide its way open to reveal the magic behind it.

I can still conjure up the cozy feeling of grasping my grandmother’s elegant, well-manicured hand with my squishy, miniature mitt as I settled into the seat. Going to the theater offered all the magic of my imagination except I didn’t have to close my eyes. And though Grandma Sylvia and I were part of the audience, she always made me believe I was the star of the show.

My friends often tease me that I see the world through the eyes of a Disney princess, that I open my curtains each morning to savor the sweet smell of citrus trees and the music of songbirds. They’re right—I kind of do.

No disrespect to Mr. Disney, but I inherited my sunny outlook from Grandma Sylvia, not some storybook princess. It was probably her positivity, both genetic and learned, that got me through her death from breast cancer in 1978, when she was only fifty-eight years old, and I was nine.

I still think of her every day because she was the person who enabled me to see the beauty in myself.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

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3 Star

(3)

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Rm

    Here?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    GOOD BOOK

    This is a thoughtful and insightful read. I recommend it highly!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Good read

    I enjoyed reading this book and finding out more about her life. Previous review indicated too much about her weight issues. Well that it was an issue with her and it is her biography.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 2, 2012

    Your typical life story!

    Wow, I can't believe I am the first to write a review. This book was O.K. I felt a little restless in the middle of the book as Ricki spoke a lot about her weight struggles but finding love again after her divorce. It starts off with her childhood and the difficult relationship she had with her mother and then goes on about how her career got started and from there a lot about her weight issues. I actually am a fan of Ricki Lake but I feel this book was somewhat tedious and was not really worth the money. I only gave it three stars because I would have liked her to have elaborated more on the positive instead of the negative and didn't feel the book was long enough. Too much about her weight issues!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Based on the cover jacket, I'll be skipping this one. You could

    Based on the cover jacket, I'll be skipping this one. You couldn't airbrush or photoshop a picture of Ricki Lake enough to make her look attractive and healthy. I am really not trying to be mean, by she is the last person to give advice on healthy and beauty. Guess she is cashing in on her "b" list celebrity status.

    0 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted April 20, 2012

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    Posted June 15, 2012

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    Posted September 2, 2013

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    Posted May 17, 2012

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    Posted June 10, 2012

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    Posted April 24, 2012

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    Posted April 30, 2012

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    Posted May 1, 2012

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