Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Work in Progress” as Want to Read:
A Work in Progress
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Work in Progress

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  87 reviews
From the New Co-host of the View, Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez’s never-before-told story of surviving a harrowing childhood and of how she found success—both in and out of the Hollywood limelight.

Rosie Perez first caught our attention with her fierce dance in the title sequence of Do the Right Thing and has since defined herself as a funny and talented actress who b
Audio CD
Published October 29th 2013 by Random House Audio (first published October 1st 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Work in Progress, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Work in Progress

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,078)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
As I put my finished copy of Rosie's book into my bag, I feel like I am actually just leaving Rosie's house. I didn't know her too well, but she invited me into her home anyways. Sitting in her cozy living room, with the back wall filled with pictures of Minguita, her dad, and, maybe even her mom Lydia, I just had a 300 page conversation with Rosie Perez. Over coffee, a box of Kleenex, some killer music playlists, Rosie just took me on a journey through her life. She told me about her childhood. ...more
This was fantastic! The writing is accessible and true to Rosie Perez's very recognizable speech pattern and the broached topics are important. This memoir devotes a lot of time to Perez's traumatic and colorful childhood. It touches on mental illness, cultural and racial identity, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and most of all, perspective and self-awareness. There's also a sprinkling of behind-the-scenes Hollywood stories that range from hilarious to mortifying. But my big take- ...more
this book was a real eye opener. I have seen some of Rosie Perez's movies. tv and on the View. I did not realize what kind of life she had until i read this memoir. She spent the first three years of her life happy with her beloved aunt she knew as "mommie" when she turned three her biological mother tore here away and put her in a Catholic home for children. she spent most of her childhood in this children's home. only seeing her aunt during summer stays with her. Rosie's mentally ill mother wo ...more
This review first appeared on Young Adult Hollywood.

*I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review*


I really loved this book! Reading it was effortless! Kind of like sitting with Rosie, having a drink, and chatting with you, like you were a really good friend.

Right from the start, she begins with the story of how her mother and father met – scandalous! From there, she goes on to tell how she was raised for the first few years by her Tia,
Thanks to her honest and candid approach as well as her refreshingly witty and humorous personality which shines through on every page, I absolutely LOVED the time I got to spend with Rosie during my reading of her story.
And I word it that way because that's exactly how it felt, as though she was right there next to me, telling me her story just like any good girlfriend would, holding nothing back including her anger, her fears, and her hopes-along with good gossip tid bits on such names as the
This was a great read! Reading about Rosie's hard life you really feel for her and you definitely cheer when things start going well. It's written very well but casually so that you almost feel like you're just in the room chatting it up with her and her Tia in one of their long conversations. As a Puerto Rican I also loved reading it for the cultural perspective. I grew up lower-middle class and with all my family's issues it seems super functional compared to Rosie's, but at the same time ther ...more
I saw this book referenced in a magazine (Bust) and thought I give it a try since it rated it high. I was not able to put the book down!

As soon as I opened the book, I was immediately hooked and taken in by the author's retelling of her time growing up. It wasn't pleasant and it was, at times, hard to read to imagine the amount of trauma since the age of 3. What I found inspiring about Ms. Perez' ordeal is how she always came back to an understanding that acting out (as a teen and adult) was no
Evi Rodriguez
What can I say? I've always loved Rosie. Reading this book was almost like taking a stroll down memory lane. It reminded me so much about my own childhood. While I would not consider this a literary classic (the writing needed work), I still loved it. The book is full of humor even though there are parts that are disturbing. It made me appreciate my childhood and Rosie even more.

PS. Pages 113 and 114 are HILARIOUS! (Holla!)
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! If Charles Dickens wrote about New York in the 1970s, he would've penned Rosie's story. Also, there's absolutely no question -- you NEED to listen to the audio. Rosie's voice is filled with so much emotion, passion, and humor that you'll immediately fall in love with her. Can't recommend highly enough!
Armando C.
It was a good read. I read it in a day. Heavy in the family drama and lite in her professional life. I wanted more about her work. That is why we know her and the reason I bought the book.
Mrs. Joseph
An enjoyable read about a woman who endured so much and has done so much self-development. It is raw and funny, just like I imagine Rosie to be in person. Great vacation reading!
Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling
Sad, funny at times, but mainly heartbreaking--I read this book in only a few hours because I couldn't put it down once I started. I am so happy to know that Rosie Perez continues to thrive despite the horror of being abandoned in a children's home for no good reason by her own mother. The tenacity and unbreakable spirit of Rosie Perez is beyond anything imaginable, and to see that she
Alisha Hall
So I picked up this book because I am a fan of Rosie Perez's then something happened...I couldn't put it down. I was so shocked, horrified and surprised about how she grew up. Her persona on TV and in the movies would have never in a million years have led me to believe the type of childhood she endured. I'm sure writing this book was like therapy for Rosie as it is another book that reads as if the author is speaking to you. I think it's good in that you can really "hear" her voice when your re ...more
Interesting! I very much enjoyed Rosie Perez's biography, especially since she and I were both born in 1964 so I could relate on that level - when she was 3-4 and being beaten by nuns and neglected by her mother, I was that exact same age but fortunate enough to be living in a loving home with two parents who were able to care for me.

I will forever be a fan of Perez since White Men Can't Jump - the Jeopardy scene continues to be one of my all-time favorites. I don't follow celebrity gossip and
A friend of mine, who had read this book before me, had warned me that the book is "too ghetto." I replied with that it's Rosie Perez and, if it was indeed ghetto, that means it was authentic. I'm in no way trying to disparage Perez in any way but if he wanted the technical venacular of Sonia Sotomayor, this was the wrong Puerto Rican biography for him.

Rosie Perez's Handbook for an Unpredictable Life was inspiring and uplifting and, coversely, heartbreaking. I literally had no semblance of an id
Oct 27, 2014 Allan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone!
This summer I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. It has been something I have done every now and then. Recently it has had some ups and downs, and I was particularly interested in helping out this year. Looking at the 2014 honorees, I saw that Rosie Perez was scheduled to be one of the honorees. I had heard she had recently written a book, and I picked up a copy; thinking a signed copy would make a nice memento of the day. Well in the cacophony of the parade, I neve ...more
Perez is the love child of two people who were married to others—the relationship did not last and Perez’s mother returned to her husband (who gave Rosie his last name to save face). Soon after she was born, Perez’s mother stopped by to visit her father’s sister, left Rosie, and didn’t return for three years. At that time, she wrenched little Rosie from her beloved Tia (Aunt) and a family that adored her and placed her in a Catholic home for children. That was the first memorable drop in Perez’s ...more
Rosie Perez is reading her own audiobook. Her Brooklyn accent with Spanish dialect gets to me sometimes but she reads slowly and able to understand in most instances. She starts off telling us about her family; how her married father meets her mother. She gives it raw, gritty, and uses vulgar language at times and slang 'MAD' term that East Coast people tend to use to mean overly, extreme.

This book I rather read the hardcover version than audio to grasp some of the parts visually and keep menta
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I have never read a memoir with a voice as casual and "modern" as Perez's. The introduction hooked me with its conversational tone. It was easy to understand, and I didn't have to go back to reread confusing sentences. This ease made it easy for me to flip through the book at quick speed. I read the first half of the book with focus, and then lost it after the laminated photos.

As easy as it was to read, several of the words were bother
Regina Radomski
As an adoptive mom I am always looking for insight into what my children might have gone through in their past. This book showed me just that. Even though Rosie was not adopted, her life feel apart for her at three years old. Her words as a three, four and five year old spoke to me. I heard her loud and clear.

I could hear her three year old self tell me what a child goes through when they are thrown into a horrible situation like she was. All the confusion that her little mind went through over
This was a book I received from a Goodreads contest. I wasn't too familiar with Rosie Perez at first so wasn't sure how it would be. Turned out to be a very interesting story line. Detailing the mental & physical abuse she dealt with while at a home for unwanted children, mixed with the same abuse from her mother who suffers from a mental illness. The book starts with Rosie as a very young child and follows up with her being discovered as a dancer and moves on to becoming a nominated actress ...more
Marisa Gonzalez
LOVED THIS BOOK! A memoir from Rosie Perez who was sent to live in a children's home by her mentally ill mother and was able to rise above her circumstances and become successful. The writing in this book is excellent because it feels like she is having a conversation with you and really shows her personality. It can have you feeling sad and heartbroken on one page and laughing on another. After reading this book, you will have great respect for all Rosie Perez has accomplished in her life and t ...more
Handbook for an Unpredictable Life by Rosie Perez is a free Goodreads FirstReads advance reader copy of a paperback book that I received in mid-October. And when I say 'received,' I should restate that it arrived. It will forever be known by my boyfriend, Gabe, as "and the award for the most excessive packaging ever goes to..." For real, it was in a box three times its size. Sorry, Gabe, but this delivery is mine.

Rosie Perez has effectively been able to bring me back to my childhood memories of
Nov 19, 2014 Jane rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like audio books.
Before reading this book, I didn't have any particular interest in Rosie Perez. A friend recommended it knowing that I like memoirs so I gave it a try not expecting too much.

I was on the fence about giving it 3 or 4 stars. Since I couldn't give 3.5, I decided to be generous and go with 4. First of all, I have to say that I listened to the audio version which may have been a big factor in earning the extra 1/2 star. Rosie read it and that made it really come to life. I found her story to be very
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's about Rosie up bringing and also about her mother putting her up in a Home. Very sad, at times it makes you want to wish you can hug that little child that is going through so much at such an early age.Rosie also speaks about growing up in Brooklyn in her Tia's house, and how she went into stardom. I think she's very brave to have come to overcome so many obstacles in her life. Also, for realizing that she needed the help of a Professional and seeking the ...more
What can I say? READ THIS BOOK! What a poignant, witty, funny and tearful read. Being a fan of Rosie Perez - her effervescent talent, sparking wit and incredible candor (not to mention her adorable speaking voice) - I appreciate her incredible fortitude, surviving a childhood that could have left her too broken to find her inner voice and am amazed she was able to survive and thrive in a world that often chooses to look the other way when it comes to human suffering.

Taking this journey with Rosi
I really wanted to like this more. As I am *not* one of those people who ever had a problem with Rosie Perez's accent, I would have thought that I would have really enjoyed a book written *exactly* in her voice. But it was just meh. On the one hand, she talks a lot about trauma she experienced growing up, all the way up until her 20s. It takes a lot of courage to tell some of those stories and share that vulnerability. But because it's written exactly as though she's talking to you, it all reads ...more
If you don't already love Rosie Perez you will after reading this book!

This story is Rosie's own account of her life growing up, some of which she remembers some of which has been told to her, all with Rosie's spin on the tone and vocabulary. Just a few chapters in you start feeling like Rosie is sitting right beside you telling you her story herself. After reading, I feel like I know Rosie personally. I imagine her to be a friend.

The book left me, at times, heartbroken for her. It's hard to ima
Liz Salisbury
I recommend the audio book - narrated by Rosie herself. It's wonderful to hear her laugh, sigh, and imitate her relatives -- she's so talented and smart! I just couldn't imagine a childhood like hers -- she tells her story with grace and honesty, doesn't hide the horrible parts, but yet I found myself laughing out loud all the way through. Now I want to go back and watch all her movies again!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion
  • Rita Moreno: A Memoir
  • Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia
  • Prepared for a Purpose: The Inspiring True Story of How One Woman Saved an Atlanta School Under Siege
  • A Woman's Revenge
  • No Land's Man
  • The Wendy Williams Experience
  • Knee Deep in Paradise
  • The Other Side of Divine
  • Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life
  • True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself
  • More Terrible Than Death: Drugs, Violence, and America's War in Colombia
  • The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa
  • Healing Hearts: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon
  • Purpose
  • Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life
  • My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Original Gangster: The Real Life Story of One of America's Most Notorious Drug Lords
Rosa Maria "Rosie" Perez (born September 6, 1964) is an American actress, dancer, choreographer, director and community activist.

Perez was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the neighborhood of Bushwick, to Puerto Rican parents: Rosie was born to Lydia Perez; her father is Ismael Serrano, a merchant marine seaman. She was transferred to a group foster home[clarification needed] at age 8.

Because of pro
More about Rosie Pérez...
Scrutinizing Shiraz from Australia: Vine Talk Episode 111

Share This Book

“There’s nothing evil or spooky about anything if there isn’t anything evil and spooky in your soul.” 0 likes
More quotes…