Book Review – The Book of Joan

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Ack. Last week I read The Book of Joan by Melissa Rivers.

I laughed, I cried. I gobbled it up in a day.

I miss Joan Rivers terribly, so I was super-excited for the chance to read this book and “visit” with her again. It did not disappoint, either–Joan’s voice rings through truly and clearly. Melissa did a great job recounting her mother’s many wonderful stories and quotes, and I loved hearing Melissa’s voice throughout, too.   She clearly inherited her mother’s sense of humor and knack for joke-telling–her timing and zingers are (usually!) just as funny.

I have a lot of admiration for Joan Rivers, particularly for her wit, courage, honesty, work ethic, and generosity. I don’t have Joan’s wicked wit or tireless work ethic, but I was so excited to find out that she and I share some key traits:

– Joan placed a huge emphasis on the importance of education, and believed that the mark of a good education (and mind) is being well-read and knowledgeable about various authors and thinkers. (Me too!!! Is this old-fashioned now?!)

– Joan loved TV shows about criminals and would DVR Lockup and Lockup Raw. (OMG…Those are some of my favorite shows, second only to COPS.)

– Joan disliked watching her loved ones play sports. (God, me too. It’s so boring. I love my family and want to support them but going to their amateur sporting events just makes me crazy. The games are long…and slow…and too frequent…and too hot/cold/loud.)

– Joan was a stickler for correct grammar. (Yes! Although I noticed an error in one of her handwritten letters included in the book–hah!)

– Joan majored in English literature. (We’re like twins!)

The Book of Joan is definitely funny, and it’s all about Joan’s personal (and hilarious) idiosyncrasies. Melissa also sprinkles in plenty of serious “life lessons” that her mother learned as a woman, parent, showbiz professional, etc. The book gets serious towards the end, too, when Melissa recounts a graduation speech her mother gave, and I think that’s where I started to really tear up. Melissa also generously shares some personal details about Joan’s death that are absolutely heartbreaking.

I highly recommend this book and will definitely read it again. If you’re a fan of Joan’s, you MUST see the fantastic documentary A Piece of Work, too.

– Angela

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