Life with My Sister Madonna

Life with My Sister Madonna

by Christopher Ciccone, Wendy Leigh
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Overview

Life with My Sister Madonna by Christopher Ciccone, Wendy Leigh


Madonna up close, by the brother who knows her better than anyone.

Christopher Ciccone's extraordinary memoir is based on his forty-seven years of growing up with, working with, and understanding the most famous woman of our time, who has intrigued, scandalized, and entertained millions for half a century.

Through most of the iconic star's kaleidoscopic career, Christopher played an important role in her life: as her backup dancer, her personal assistant, her dresser, her decorator, her art director, her tour director.

If you think you know everything there is to know about Madonna, you are wrong. Only Christopher can tell the full scale, riveting untold story behind Madonna's carefully constructed mythology, and the real woman behind the glittering façade.

From their shared Michigan childhood, which Madonna transcended, then whisked Christopher to Manhattan with her in the early eighties, where he slept on her roach-infested floor and danced with her in clubs all over town -- Christopher was with her every step of the way, experiencing her first hand in all her incarnations. The spoiled daddy's girl, the punk drummer, the raunchy Boy Toy, Material Girl, Mrs. Sean Penn, Warren Beatty's glamorous Hollywood paramour, loving mother, Mrs. Guy Ritchie, English grande dame -- Christopher witnessed and understood all of them, as his own life was inexorably entwined with that of his chameleon sister.

He tangled with a cast of characters from artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, to Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, Demi Moore, and, of course, Guy Ritchie, whose advent in Madonna's life splintered the loving relationship Christopher once had with her.

The mirror image of his legendary sister, with his acid Ciccone tongue, Christopher pulls no punches as he tells his astonishing story.

Life with My Sister Madonna is the juicy, can't-put-it-down story you've always wanted to hear, as told by Madonna's younger brother.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439109267
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 07/14/2008
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 267,053
File size: 421 KB

About the Author

Christopher Ciccone began his professional career as a dancer with La Groupe de La Place Royal in Ottawa. He art directed Madonna's Blond Ambition tour and directed her The Girlie Show tour. He has directed music videos for Dolly Parton and Tony Bennett. He is an artist, interior decorator, and designer in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Wendy Leigh is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including Bowie, Prince Charming: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, and The Secret Letters of Marilyn Monroe & Jacqueline Kennedy, and the coauthor of Life with My Sister Madonna, Jeannie Out of the Bottle, and Shirley Jones.

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Life with My Sister Madonna 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
emmi331 More than 1 year ago
Christopher Ciccone's bio of his sister Madonna is hard to put down. To give him his due, he portrays Madonna as a hard-working perfectionist who wouldn't dream of giving her fans anything less than a terrific performance. Her intimate circle is not always treated so kindly - she seems happiest when they are competing desperately for her approval and attention, and understands how to manipulate their insecurities to keep them in line. Her own brother, the author, is not exempt. He is wretchedly underpaid as one of her top assistants, and endures the endless humiliations she engineers to "keep him in his place". He is appalled at how little Madonna holds sacred if it will advance her career - including a staged scene at her mother's grave for one of her documentaries. Yet he isn't quite highly-principled enough to walk away from the abuse and overweening ego of his sister until more than twenty years have passed. The perks of being in her entourage are evidently too enticing. His excuse is always, "She needed my support", which struck me as a bit lame, since she comes across as needing no one's support. I lost even more respect for him than I did for Madonna. Nonetheless, it's a gossipy and enjoyable read, and I admit I was glued to every page.
RickX More than 1 year ago
If you want to get close to knowing who Madonna is as a person, this is the book to get. Madonna's brother has been one of the few people who have been close to her since the beginning and he portrays Madonna (I think) in a more normal light then you see on the screen. In this book you will find many new revelations of what Madonna said and did from the start of her career.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First,I would like to apologize for my grammar as English is my third language. I'm one year younger then Madonna and I have to admit that even though I wasn't the biggest fun of her music, I liked to watch her perform as in my opinion she is even better entertainer then singer. Now I know, it was mostly with the help of Christopher's ideas. I also find her to be kind of intriguing person and I decided to buy the book as I sensed it to be a good lecture. Well, I was right on the money 'I even got it at 30% discount' and I couldn't stop reading it. I'm sure it wasn't easy for Christopher to 'put all the cards on the table' but he has done great job. The book is well written and at the same time easy to read but most important, I believe, it's sincere. However, I suspect that the author didn't tell us everything... Well, maybe in his next bestseller - who knows? I don't want to say what was in the book as I recommend to everyone intersted to buy it. Personally I though 'and probably most of us' that Madonna must have very dificult character but after reading her biography I was blown out! Wow, she is a really CHARACTER and can be a really PAIN.... She should consider psychological assessment as she has a lot of issue to deal with like her aloof personality, her controling ways and insecurities. She is such unsecure about her self that she has to put others down to feel better about her self. It's definitaly her and not Christopher who needs professional consulting. Lets hope, she will realize that and seek the help she needs or she will never be happy as I strongly suspect she is not. Deep down her soul there might be something causing her to be 'The Queen-Mean' and she needs to get to the core of it, recognize it and deal with it. I wish, I could feel sorry for her but I can't because of her greed. To have all the money in the world and not to share them with her family and friends it's just unbeliveable! And above all to have no shame and use others who are less fortunate. It's sad to see what money can do to some people, especially Madonna. If she is so smart, then she should known that blood is thicker then water. Always! Sometimes it might take time to see it, but eventually it would come out... Besides, if she is so much into Kabbalah then she should also know that when her time come to go to the other side, she will be judge by her good deeds to others and not by her bank accounts. I just hope, that Christopher's tell-all will not separated them further apart only help them heal their realtionship. She should reach out to him and make a peace as I think it's the only way for her to get all her funs back. And of course, it should be coming from her heart. As for now, I have no intentions to listen to Madonna's songs as I lost my respect for her and it's mainly because of her luck of respect toward others. It will remain unchanched as long as she won't change her ways. I have rather donate my money to Animal Shelter then spend them on a ticket to see her show knowing that after leaving the stage, she will be mistreating her crew and all those around her. And I hope, Christopher got top pay for his book that I strongly recommend again. In this case, my money was well spend as this biography was better then any reality show. Christopher's motto must be 'The way you treated, the way you have it'... And if he reads this, then I would like to say to him: Good job and good luck! And to all of you, have a pleasant reading, Maggie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never would have thought that Madonna was so selfish and greedy. This book gives you a great understanding of who Madonna is and how she lives her life. I am not someone who reads biographies, but naturally I was intrigued because it was Madonna. Definitely interesting to read. Madonna continues to shock her fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow.. Talk About having your whole perspective of someone change from 1 day to the next.. I am greatly dissapointed in who Madonna really is. I have been a fan of her work since I was a child. I am now 26 yrs old.. I cannot believe that she is so selfish and greedy. I understand her absolute need to be watchful of all the people that enter her circle and world.. But her brother? Dude, He didnt have to take his positon as her employee.. This I know.. But she would insist. He as her brother took it.. Who wouldnt? That doesnt give her the right to treat people so badly. Of all the people.. and the nerve to refuse to repay him, thus creating the problem for his living situation. He couldnt pay rent for 3 months. And all because of her selfishness.. She asked him to buy the damn decor. I cannot believe she is really like that. I cant imagine her proclaiming to be this ultimate kabballah follower. Youd think that would have taught her a thing or two.. I thought Madonna had changed when she had Lola.. I beg to defer.. and the fact that her husband is homophobic shocks me. Hello? Your fan base? She doesnt care.. I dont even believe she really cares for the fans.. If she cant even care for those around her. What makes me believe shes gonna care about us? Were just giving her our money. Shes greedy and I am so saddened by her true being.. There is a part in the book where Christophers grandmother, who is still alive today at the age of 93 by the way, needs some financial assistance. Christopher suggests to Madonna, (who is a big star by now..) Pay off her grandmothers house, get her a car, a driver and a cook.. Madonna of course and to my surprise offers to help her with the bills and a measly $500 a month.. Are you kidding me? She was so good to you. She is the only connection to your Deceased Mother. I couldnt believe it.. I would have liked if Christopher would have talked more about Madonnas relationship with each and every one of her siblings and father throughout the years, But he fails to do so.. So it leaves me with alot of questions.. I finished the book in 5 days.. I enjoyed it. Christopher has indeed accomplished alot on his own.. I hope everything works out for him in his life.. What an honor it would be to meet this fantastic and so very talented cultured human being.. Kudos Christopher! Kudos..
Guest More than 1 year ago
finished the book in 1 day...terrific read! christopher in no way trashes her, so her fans can chill out!! he says many positive things about her and is very proud of her success and is thrilled to go with her on her world tours. now, for the negatives: he also makes it clear that once madonna was on the road to success *starting from when she first got her record deal* she starts treating him like a doormat. she makes it clear, SHE'S the star and he isn't. christopher accepts it and still continues to work for her *he's the only family member that will work for her long-term, other siblings worked on her earlier tours*. she screams at him, cusses at him and severely underpays him. with the pay, i agree with christopher 1000%!! this was business and he had every right to be treated like anyone else doing the same job and who would get the proper pay. *they never have a contract 'til much later after the girlie show and when he's designing her house.* she stiffs him a lot when it comes to the home design where he's spending his own money for supplies, furniture, etc. and then madonna changes her mind and sometimes doesn't pay him at all. after she's with guy ritchie, her attitude towards christopher changes, she no longer trusts his design judgments and is very picky *just like guy* about every little and last detail to the design project. they exchange heated emails and faxes when christopher suggests they have some type of agreement, she refuses. the last fax/email she sends him, 'don't ever contact me again'. there's also a few madonna myths christopher clears up: 1. she was never a cinderella doing all the chores and taking care of everyone. ALL the ciccone kids had chores, she got special treatment mainly because she was named after their mother and looked like her. 2. she did not go to new york not knowing anyone there, she already had contacts from the shared dance studio in michigan *both her and chris take dance lessons from christopher flynn* that went to new york before her and who hook her up with auditons and places to stay. madonna even worked in paris for 3 months *after she moves to new york*. 3. madonna wasn't always as broke as she's always maintained, when they started getting more gigs *chris was a backup dancer of hers* madonna was making $1000 a night and even got $15,000 to cut 2 songs for sire, everybody and burnin' up. my personal feelings on this book: i'm very disappointed that madonna chose to exaggerate those parts of her life, i always thought she was someone who told it like it was and was very straightforward. going to new york even in the 70s with only $35 and not knowing a soul there, never really made sense to me. *also chris moves to manhattan shortly after* and also christopher makes it clear once madonna knew she was going to be a star, she treats everyone like their disposable. even family members, that she can speak and demean them as she sees fit. she is very stingy when it comes to money to family and it's no surprise none of the other ciccones will work for her. i do feel she treated christopher like a doormat and was using him, and in a way i can't blame christopher. when you have a sibling who's a huge superstar it'd be hard not to be a doormat. she's the star and everyone knows it. the theme of this book is to show how madonna is behind closed doors and his overall point that even though she's a star, she still doesn't walk on water. he stood by her from the very beginning, back when she was doing pot and ecstasy in new york before she hit it big, and then when madonna gets together with guy she has no more use for christopher, which leaves him heartbroken. overall, i don't view this book as a revenge or jealousy book. he makes it clear he never wanted to be a superstar on her level, just wants to branch out on his own talents. *he also goes into detail the many other projects he's done that had nothing to do with her, managing other artists, directing music vids
sugarpy18 More than 1 year ago
This book is a fascinating story of Madonna and her brother, their relationship with all its ups and downs. I will not speculate whether or not the author's story is 100% true or whether he wrote this book just for money, but whatever it is, the book is captivating and enthralling, as it talks about a brother/sister relationship gone wrong.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How can you be so stingy with money when you are worth hundreds of millions of dollars especially with your family?! Madonna should be ashamed. It's true what they say, the richer the more greedier people are. I laugh at her lies in the book, and I'm sure there are more. It's sad how much her brother has done for her and she dismisses family like strangers. I hope she treats her kids with love. My perception of her has changed dramatically!! She was not that great of an artist anyway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not the biggest Madonna fan,like her early music.But,the fact her brother wrote this made me want to buy it. To be honest the whole book pretty much just is saying she's unaware of anyone else's needs'if she is does not care' and screams when she does not get her way. A lot of it is about Christopher and his re-doing her houses. Nothing really new people don't already know. He does keep me hooked when he tells us she lied about here start, is cheap' if true treats her family like dirt...even more her grandma & dad' and her husband seems to not like gay people.What is suprising is how much he tells on other celebs and their drug habits or strange ways. If you are a BIG fan kind of worth it, if not..do not bother.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Life with My Sister Madonna, by Christopher Ciccone, is a revealing look into the life of Madonna, the 'global icon'. It is also about Christopher, their relationship, family and friends. The book begins with a prologue that takes place in London in 1993 and portrays the good times between brother and sister. Christopher explains that Madonna is an insomniac: 'unbridled desire for fame and fortune, you see, is incompatible with sleep.' Madonna is portrayed as someone with both a massive ego and riddled with insecurities. She was very nervous about performing for the 1991 Academy Awards, because it was in front of established actors, 'whose respect she desperately wanted to win.' Those who worked for her--including Christopher--knew to praise her during and after performances and movie premiers--no matter how poorly she acted, no matter what. When Madonna hired a new person to dress her between performances, for example, Christopher told him to keep quiet, except when Madonna asked, How do I look?' The reply: 'Wonderful Madonna, wonderful. Ciccone writes that Madonna wanted to be a great movie star: 'I wish her well, but secretly believe that the only part that she is truly capable of playing is that of herself, Madonna, a part that she has created and curated.' Ouch. The first chapter begins with their childhood in Rochester, Michigan. Tragically, their mother died when Christopher was 3 years old and Madonna, 5. The father remarries and there are 8 children. The children are expected to do daily chores and are punished for transgressions all save Madonna. Christopher writes that she rarely had to do chores and was virtually never punished. He wrote that Joan, his step mom, even seemed a bit afraid of Madonna. Turns out, Madonna looks like their mother and is dad's favorite. The book progresses though their lives. In high school, Madonna secretly took ballet classes and got Christopher involved as well. He explains that it was not for his company--which he desperately wanted rather, the instructor, who Madonna adored, needed a male dancer. Christopher believes that the disputes between brother and sister come with the addition of Guy Richie into Madonna's life. Richie is portrayed a homophobic jerk and it is obvious that there is no love between the author and Richie. Ciccone writes that in 2001, Madonna: 'treats me as if I am nothing other than a serf paid to decorate her house.' He writes about how cheap Madonna is, especially in light of how much money she makes. In 2001, Richie and Madonnas worth were said to be worth $260 million. And Madonna had the highest female annual income in Britain of $43.8 million dollars. Ciccone writes that Madonna perpetually underpaid him, disputed payments and blackmailed Christopher over money. For example, he would not get paid unless he took Kabbalah classes with her. No matter how badly Madonna treated her brother, he always came back for more, incapable of stopping himself. Madonna's power, so the book indicates, strong from childhood, only got stronger as she aged--making her a powerful, successful magnet that nobody--not even her brother--could resist. A compelling read. By the author of the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows how people have to fix their childhood woundings by stepping back and getting away from their families dysfunction. So often we are emotionally blackmailed 'because' it's family! One needs to stop and ask themselves would I allow a complete stranger to treat me this way?....Of course Not! As they say you can choose your friends ....but...you can't choose your family! Sometimes one is Much better off getting of the merry go round of trying to 'love' because it's family...and realize it's Not healthy for them and they are only enabling the other person to be a complete jerk. They suck you in and it's like the 'tar baby.' I applaud Christopher I only pray that he stays strong and learns to appreciate all his gifts and talents. Christopher is finally understanding himself! Unfortunately the insecurities that made Madonna so driven has many negative qualities 'that come with that' That...she being almost 50 probably will Never learn. Which is one of the many prices one pays for becoming a star and forgeting that they can be wrong in so many ways. I read this book in 2 days because it flowed well... I at the end became a little tired of Christopher going back for more and more abuse but I have faith he will do just fine....as long as he takes Madonna out of the family category and places her as a normal human and realizes he deserves respect from everyone especially from someone he has done so much for and loved so deeply. If he doesn't ' get the respect from Madonna that he so deserves' Please Christopher...STAY AWAY!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interesting what money and fame can do to a person and an entire family. Madonna is talented but not the goddess that she may think she is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed hanging out with Christopher Ciccione for 342 pages. I grew up with Madonna as my hero and while that hasn't changed it was amazing to read about how tiny the world is when you are larger than life. And how every family has issues no matter who they are and what they've achieved. Loved it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madonna is an outstanding artist and since i say Madonna in the title i decided to give it a try...I was hooked onto it in the first few pages-Ziqi Xu
VikVC More than 1 year ago
But, I read the sample and I must say, I read enough to see she is a very sensitive lady...strong, but, good at hiding her feelings when she gets hurt