- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Oprah: A Biography Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 2011
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Kitty Kelley is the internationally acclaimed bestselling author of Jackie Oh!; Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star; His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra; Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography; The Royals; and The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty. The last four titles were all #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Kelley has been honored by her peers with such awards as the Outstanding Author Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for her -courageous writing on popular cul-ture, - the Philip M. Stern Award for her -outstanding service to writers and the writing profession, - the Medal of Merit from the Lotos Club of New York City, and the 2005 PEN Oakland Literary Censorship Award. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, People, Ladies' Home Journal, McCall's, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her physician husband, Jonathan Zucker.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
In fairness to Kelley it's apparent that she did a lot of research, but most people don't want to go on the record about Oprah, either because they're friends of hers or because they're afraid of her. Consequently Kelley relied heavily on published sources and developed an obsession with catching Oprah out in every lie or inconsistency, rather than using the sources as guidance to develop an understanding of who Oprah is. So we find out that no, Oprah didn't have cockroaches for pets - she had a dog! No she didn't miss out on having a doll, she had lots of dolls! No she wasn't raised on a pig farm, there was only one pig! And so forth. Does it really matter? Intriguingly, Kelley claims to know who Oprah's real father is, but won't disclose it because she doesn't think that's fair to Oprah, who doesn't know. It seems hard to believe that she would choose to sit on a bombshell like that.
The book isn't a one-sided hatchet job. Kelley admires Oprah's instincts, her generosity, her incredible work ethic and her ability to go for the jugular even when interviewing friends. While she recognizes that Oprah steals ideas from other sources (eg Oprah's Book Club), she has the ability to make them her own - and an enormous success.
Essentially Oprah emerges as someone who grew up in a broken and poor family. After suffering sexual abuse as a child, she became promiscuous and experimented with drugs, but she was smart enough to clean herself up. She was highly ambitious from the start and while initially she was hungry for fame and money, later it became more about impacting people's lives. When she moved into media she was a quick learner and made some very smart decisions early on: surrounding herself with talented people and advisors (especially Jeff Jacobs), which meant that she owned her empire and was able to maximise how much money she retained. While highly charismatic, she is definitely not as nice and friendly a person as you'd think from seeing her on TV. She is extremely controlling with her staff and in fact with almost anyone who comes into contact with her and freezes out anyone who displeases her. On the other hand she is very generous with her friends. Less evolved and self-confident than she seems, she is highly sensitive to criticism, over-eats and has issues with romantic commitment.
It was particularly interesting to learn the way that the Oprah we feel we all know is a facade: yes it's her, but it's not entirely her. Her image is carefully controlled, and even seemingly spontaneous moments on her show are "as choreographed as a Kabuki doll".
At the end of the day I found the book interesting to read, but I don't feel like there were any major surprises or that Kitty Kelley got to the core of who Oprah is. She focuses too much on what she's done and not enough on who she is. Why is control so important to her? What is the nature of her relationship with Stedman? Why did she choose to end her series now? I've still no idea, but what is clear is that she is a far more cold, complicated and controlling individual than her public persona suggests.
There was some new information, but overall I learnt very little about Oprah through reading this book. Instead of feeling uplifted and inspired by her life, I felt like I was listening to someone slagging her off relentlessly. Kitty Kelley doesn't grant Oprah the space to be human.
So to summarise, there was lots of detail about things I wasn't interested in or had heard before, lots of information I didn't find (about Oprah's gruelling work schedule, the help she gets to manage her work/life/domestic jobs etc), and the book was very negative with a few token bits of positivity. I would not recommend it - not even to fans of Oprah.
I believe that even evil dictators have some good sides so I find really hard to believe that Oprah is behind the scenes as horrible as the author describes her. She makes a big deal about people working for her having to sign a confidentiality agreement. Well most companies have one and I did sign many myself in most of the companies I worked for. The list of stuff I feel is not really objective could go on for ages.
I think if you like gossip and you enjoy reading stuff being aware it might not be completely true is fine. If you are looking for a proper biography this is certainly not one.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category