Named one of "40 Gifts for the Book Lover on Your List," by Good Housekeeping
The definitive book about Joan Rivers' tumultuous, victorious, tragic, hilarious, and fascinating life.
Joan Rivers was more than a legendary comedian; she was an icon and a role model to millions, a fearless pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers' career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life.
A juicy, intimate biography of one of the greatest comedians ever-a performer whose sixty year career was borne, simply, out of a desire to make people laugh so she could feel loved-LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world around her.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Leslie Bennetts is the author of the national bestseller The Feminine Mistake as well as a longtime Vanity Fair writer and former New York Times reporter. At Vanity Fair she wrote many movie star cover stories in addition to articles on subjects ranging from priest pedophilia to U.S. antiterrorism policy, and she was the first woman ever to cover a presidential campaign at the New York Times. Bennetts has also written for many other magazines, including New York, Vogue, More, The Nation, and Glamour.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Last Girl Before Freeway 3
Chapter 1 Nobody Ever Wanted It More 13
"But She Has No Talent!"
Chapter 2 Dying Is Easy. Comedy Is Hard 38
Chapter 3 Dicks and Balls 54
Breaking Into the Boys' Club
Chapter 4 Stardom and Wifedom 69
Happily Ever After?
Chapter 5 Westward Ho 86
Chapter 6 The First Lady of Comedy 103
Nothing Is Sacred
Chapter 7 Victim as Enforcer 121
Terrorizing Women Into Submission
Chapter 8 The Temptation of Joan 134
Chapter 9 A Thankless Child 152
"How Sharper Than a Serpents Tooth"
Chapter 10 Debacle 165
The Death of a Show, a Marriage-find a Husband
Chapter 11 Recovery 188
The Long Road Back
Chapter 12 Reinventing a Career 202
"I Can Rise Again!"
Chapter 13 Art and Commerce 216
All in a Day's Work
Chapter 14 Home Sweet Versailles 234
Marie Antoinette Meets Auntie Mame
Chapter 15 High Society 243
Putting On the Ritz
Chapter 16 But Is It Good for the Jews? 256
Sex, Politics, and Religion
Chapter 17 Men Are Stupid 269
Beauty and Betrayal
Chapter 18 Back to the Top 287
Fighting Like "A Rabid Pit Bull"
Chapter 19 Fashion Forward 299
Triumph of the Mean Girls
Chapter 20 Daughter Dearest 314
How to Succeed in Show Business
Chapter 21 The Time of Her Life 331
Fame, Friends, and Fun
Chapter 22 The Final Mountain 349
Chapter 23 Grand Finale 364
Sudden Exit, Pursued by Bear
Chapter 24 Legacy 382
Laughter and Liberation
Epilogue: Updates from the Afterlife 393
"You WERE fat, you bitch!"
Note on Sources 405
What People are Saying About This
"Joan was a great friend of mine and this is one hell of a book. A terrific read from start to finish, it captures Joan completely. Five stars."
"You may think you know Joan Rivers, but I'll bet you'll be shocked by the revelations in Leslie Bennetts' irresistible biography. Before there was a women's movement or much hope for a woman in stand-up comedy, Joan made it by ridiculing everything she craved, from beauty and respectability to fashion and power. With unmatched energy and an ambition that made Napoleon look like Gandhi, she broke the boundaries of taste and commonsenseand widened the path for us all."
"The story of Joan Rivers is also the story of the trials and tribulations faced by talented and ambitious American women for decades, and Leslie Bennetts tells her story in riveting, surprising, heart rending, and hilarious detail."
"Leslie Bennetts has delivered a big, juicy biography of comedy's First Lady that takes the reader behind the scenes in the male dominated entertainment industry. That would be fascinating enough, but what stays is a portrait of a woman whose drive is fueled almost entirely on self-loathing. We know by now that most comics are in great painthis account understands the high cost of all of those outrageous over-the-top screamingly funny classic Joan Rivers zingers."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I still miss her. A wonderful tribute to her life. Except that one photo that labels her husband as her grandson...blech! ~*~LEB~*~
"Last Girl Before Freeway" is overall a great book if a reader wants to learn more about Rivers's outlook on the world and how her personality and insecurities contributed to her iconic sense of humor and comedic persona. The only complaint I have is that it becomes a little lengthy after a while, as the author includes little details that are not needed. This novel is suited for someone who really wants an insight to how Joan's everyday leadership qualities made her who she is and how her outlook on life contributed to her humor and catapulted her to fame. Overall, this biography by Leslie Bennetts is very informational but too long.