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A Work in Progress

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  664 Ratings  ·  138 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
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Published October 29th 2013 by Random House Audio (first published October 1st 2013)
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May 03, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human
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
Feb 25, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Nov 09, 2014 Demetria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
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
May 18, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dec 11, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Mar 27, 2014 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 15, 2014 Ash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I will always say this at the beginning of every bio/memoirs, I don't like raring them. How can you rate how much you like someone's life story. I think people rate them more on how they felt about the person. I don't know much of Rosie perez's acting. I have been watching a lot of boxing and I loved how she was always enthusiastic and was genuinely passionate about the sport. You don't see a lot of women who genuine fans or commentators. So when i seen this at the library i grabbed it. I've onl ...more
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
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
Gina Marcelin
Aug 06, 2015 Gina Marcelin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I really enjoyed this book. I saw Rosie on a talk show saying how her childhood left her with PTSD. Really? Sounds about right if a child has been severely abused, like Rosie was. By her parents, my the sisters of the foster care home where she was raised, by her father, by almost every adult in her young life. It's a compelling story. It makes me like Rosie more than ever. The story of negotiations with Spike Lee with a machete are hilarious. I read the book in two days.
very candid and honest. I just have a hard time believing the forgiveness she gave her mother. I don't know what it is about latinxs and forgiveness but they always want you to forgive and forget because "family". my heart ached for Rosie and I'm glad she climbed out of what could have been a completely different life given the circumstances.

I knew nothing about her life, and I recommend the audiobook if anyone decides to pick this up.
Evi Rodriguez
Jun 24, 2014 Evi Rodriguez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!)
Ann T
May 30, 2016 Ann T rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title is so appropriate. For those who have lived through something, this is a survival handbook. Ms. Perez story is well written, authentic, funny, sad and engaging. Never a dull page. Rosie I did not know and thank you for setting the record straight. What a trooper. Now she is what you call a pillar of strength, someone to be admired. Although her early life was no crystal stair, she is a survivor. Yes, her story will tear at your heart strings, as she takes you through her childhood. You ...more
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!
Holy Jesus! WTF is wrong with the Catholic Church? The level of violence that Rosie had to deal with is insane. She was beat by her mother, siblings and nuns. She's amazingly strong woman to have come through all those fires and still openly forgive each and everyone that has abandoned, beaten and bruised her. It's a very emotional book. I found myself becoming increasingly angry at the neglect by the adults and cheering for Rosie to overcome her situation. She is smart, witty and biting. I love ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book yesterday (via eBook) and found out today that I won a copy through Goodreads First Reads - yay! as Rosie might say. I really liked it and learned a lot about the actress that I didn't know, and was surprised to find out. I've always enjoyed her work, but was raising children in the 90s and didn't recall any of the entertainment industry strife she endured. Rosie is a great writer, the book is smooth, filled with wonderful insight, both intellectual and hilarious. It's like ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, favorites
I have become such a a big fan of Rosie after listening to her story. I've always liked her but had no idea anything about her. I felt like she was reading my memoir...well, until she started on Soul Train. Our families, our childhoods, the way she feels about saying I love you, the way she ate her eggs as a kid down to the same awful nickname as a teenager. Yup, we were both called "Helmet Head". Not cool but now we both have fabulous hair. ;) I cannot even explain how much I want to meet her a ...more
Nov 19, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jan 17, 2016 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 27, 2014 Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
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
Mar 19, 2014 Knewmyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-library, 2014
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
Mar 05, 2014 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know anything about Rosie Perez, except that she was an actress. The majority of this book is about her childhood. I am amazed that she can remember so much about her life before 5 years old, and with such details. She was at first raised by her aunt, whom she thought was her mother, and it was all very confusing. She was put in an orphanage run by nuns in upstate New York when she was 3 years old and later into a group home further upstate in New York. She survived abusive nuns, and an ...more
Maria Menozzi
Dec 27, 2014 Maria Menozzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do some people even survive their childhoods? After reading Angela's Ashes, I thought I had read the worst. Then I read The Glass Castle and that topped Ashes in sheer unbelievability for even surviving that catastrophe of a developmental age, and now the Perez memoir. As a memoir, it is fairly well-written. I read it in two sittings. Perez's written "voice" is definitely her own and the enjoyment of reading this is actually hearing her read it. It is frustrating to read much of her relation ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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...

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“I had to believe I was immune to the emotional and mental blows of my life thus far. I had to believe that I was above it. If I didn’t, how could I win?” 0 likes
“Seriously. If you liked rock and roll, you wanted to be white; if you read a lot of books, you wanted to be white; if you had manners and were polite and blah, blah, blah—so pathetic and boring.” 0 likes
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