This book talks about her life in Hollywood and all the people she dealt with that either got in her way or helped her succeed further. Roseanne shows how, in the beginning, she didn't have control of her show, that it was run by "men" and they felt the lead character in the show should have been Dan. She fought with her writers and producers all the time to change the direction of her character. Roseanne eventually got back her show, fired all the people she hated, and brought on Tom as a writer and producer. That eventually ended after 1994 but Tom did help her through some of the hardest parts of her life. This book really opens up a part of her life that she felt the news was just twisting to sell papers and magazines and I think it probably helped people to understand just what it all meant to her as both a person and celebrity.
As a writer, this book has taught me that eschewing a formal writing style in favor a more personal method does not always work out.
This book is a lot dishier than Roseanne's first. It is revealed in Roseannarchy that Tom stroked Roseanne's ego big-time and has her convinced that she is a queen who can do whatever the hell she wants, but in My Lives, we are in the middle of that storm. It's kind of strange, because it seems like Tom is the one who does a lot of the manipulating & maneuvering, but Roseanne is the one who takes credit for it, so maybe that's what she is referring to in her later book. Thank goodness I read it for the first time in 2004 instead of its original publication year of 1994, because it would have been hard to wait more than 7 years for another Roseanne memoir, even if Roseannarchy did rehash a lot of ground that Roseanne: My Life As a Woman covered.
And, then there was Tom Arnold, who I actually gained a little respect for after reading this. He was with her before she was a star, her best friend, her writing partner-- a man who silently was in love with her, but she was married to an emotionally manipulative drunk, who tried to constantly use her own children against her, and actually held secret meetings with the studio brass to conspire against her, as well as The Enquirer and her own children, telling them that their mother must love her "little job" more than them because she was no longer a stay-at-home Mom. (Despite the fact that he, himself, when left to watch the kids was oft times too drunk to even get them to school...) Of course, that's different than the general consensus at that time, that he attached himself to her coattails after her fame...
I don't think Tom Arnold is funny in the slightest, but I think most people would agree those were the funniest seasons, so he must have been doing something right. I think Roseanne the person is crazy, but I really wanted to read this to see if she would dish about the show at all. This book was also written right after she married Tom, and so she tries to paint him in this amazing light even though she detested him later. (I have decided I want to read her latest book now, to see her new thoughts on Tom.) And then in the final chapter she reveals she wrote this book to help other abuse victims cope with their life.
But I must have expected less because I was really surprised as I listened to Roseanne's own personal telling of her story.
I read it in a day and it made me love Roseanne even more.
I've talked about this before, but it has never worked out...I would like to do a celebrity autobiography book club.
I met Roseanne the day this book came out.