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Oprah: A Biography

3.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,713 Ratings  ·  546 Reviews
Based on three years of research and reporting as well as 850 interviews with sources, many of whom have never before spoken for publication, Oprah is the first comprehensive biography of one of the most influential, powerful, and admired public figures of our time, by the most widely read biographer of our era. Anyone who is a fan of Oprah Winfrey or who has followed her ...more
ebook, 544 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jun 22, 2011 Mia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a serious un-fan of Oprah's, but this book is so mean-spirited it made me feel dirty to read it. And I don't mean the "dirt": she was pregnant at 14! She was a prostitute! She did crack cocaine! She let men treat her like trash! Nothing wrong with Kelly reporting all that as those may be facts unknown to readers who haven't watched a lot of Oprah or read a lot of tabloids, but how many times do we need to be told about Oprah's love of fried chicken or how dark skinned she is?

Apparently Opra
Dec 23, 2012 Ro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Feel a bit dirty after reading.
2. Interviews are almost from all people who were slighted by her.
3. I feel even more akin to her now that I see how her family resents her that she rose above them.
4. Appreciate the knowledge that how she wants to portray herself to fans is different than how she may behave privately.
5. Revelation: Wow. She's a real person. We all cross people in our lives. Oprah seems to cut off people the minute she has a bad experience with them. Good for her. There are so f
May 02, 2010 Leeanna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oprah: A Biography, by Kitty Kelley

This book is like watching reality television. It's so bad, but you just can't stop.

I can't find one redeeming thing about this book; the author is clearly biased against her subject, writing one negative chapter after another. Anything good Oprah has done is mentioned briefly, and followed by pages of criticism on why she did it, why it wasn't good enough, etc. There are also a large amount of pages devoted to describing Oprah's lavish lifestyle, including th
Oct 31, 2011 Lady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Kitty Kelley certainly does her homework. Oprah is a hypocritical narcissist, plain and simple. She is also petty, vindictive, materialistic, and paranoid. For those who defend her because of her good works, consider this: With the personal wealth she's amassed, she could have done (and could still do) so much more for the poor of the US and for the poor in South Africa than she's already done. Instead, she's given herself, among other things, a bathtub the size of a pond made of a solid block o ...more
Oprah in one word? Gluttonous

I’ve been watching Oprah ever since her show went into syndication over twenty years ago. I spent countless afternoons with my grandmother, watching in amazement as the scandalous scenarios played out on Phil Donahue, Geraldo Rivera, and Oprah Winfrey. Talk TV was my lifeline to grownup happenings, and I felt like I was defying childhood by being able to watch it.

Oprah was always my favourite. There was something about seeing a fearless, heavyset, black woman on TV,
May 10, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mom
This book irritated me. Why? Because I am really starting to dislike Oprah. Unlike some die-hard Oprah fans, I actually believe what Kelley writes because it makes sense. She has interviews to back up her claims and she is writing in such a way as not to slam but Oprah. but simply to tell the truth. That's something, it appears, that Oprah has lost the ability (or actually never had the ability) to do.

My favorite part of the book (and the part that I feel encapsulates Oprah as a person) is on pa
Apr 29, 2010 RNOCEAN rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the past twenty-five years, no one has been better at revealing secrets than Oprah Winfrey. On what is arguably the most influential show in television history, she has gotten her guests-often the biggest celebrities in the world-to bare their love lives, explore their painful pasts, admit their transgressions, reveal their pleasures, and explore their demons. In turn, Oprah has repeatedly allowed her audience to share in her own life story, opening up about the sexual abuse in her past and ...more
Hydee Davis
While I thought this book was an interesting read, I struggled with the fact that most of the people who were interviewed for this unauthorized biography were those who felt they had been slighted by Oprah at some point. I thought the author made an attempt to be unbiased but, it was evident that she didn't have many 'pro-Oprah' interviewees during her research process.

Perhaps the most annoying part of the book was that the author tried to write somewhat chronologically but used examples that we
Jun 17, 2010 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-read
I don't want Kitty Kelley writing about me. She will find childhood friends that tell how I lost all the birdies out of the badminton set, forgot to touch second on one of the ball games in Lee's front yard, and who knows what exaggerations I make when I tell my stories. That being said, you have to admire her for taking on Oprah. Of course Oprah tells stories that put herself in the best life; she is driven beyond all reason, and she has stepped on toes. I understand that. What is fascinating a ...more
William Wardall
Jan 06, 2013 William Wardall rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect this to be a love letter to Oprah,I knew there would be some negative stuff. What I didn't expect was such a boring telling of her life that reads like a high school book report. It's full of facts and numbers laced with diatribes from people who obviously have an axe to grind. Kitty Kelley must be proud of getting Oprah's own father to belittle her achievements by claiming her every move is a calculated public relations stunt. I found this book to be full of innuendos and gossip ...more
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K is for Killing with Kindness

This little saying I just now made up (based off of the sentence V is for Vendetta, obviously) could possibly describe Oprah. It was not, however, accomplished by Kitty Kelley in this book, though it should've been because, umm, her initials are K.K. I think for her, what would be more fitting is KKK. Bad joke? Okay, sorry. In my mind it was clever, but maybe it's just distasteful. But you know what, Kelley was COMPLETELY distasteful in this whole "biography"!!! Lem
Jun 23, 2010 Carolann rated it liked it
I think I had expected more - more revealing insights, more details, more about things we haven't already heard about. I think it's almost a little too trite to say that Oprah has embraced the elitist, celebrity culture pervaisive in the western world. I supposed her abondonment of the underpriviledged African American and seeming inability to question the self-serving righteousness of the "American dream" is somewhat perceptive, though not remotely surprising. That Oprah has an over-inflated eg ...more
Izetta Autumn
Jun 14, 2011 Izetta Autumn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I should be ashamed that I read this. Not only did I read it, but I stayed up until 4 a.m. to finish it. I should be deeply, deeply ashamed to admit that I read this. But I'm not. Why you ask? Because I'm just that much of a bookworm. I have no shame. I will literally, as this has now been established, read anything. It doesn't even have to be great.

A few notable things about the book
1. I swear I wouldn't read this book, because I find it exploitative - using Oprah's name to write a biography t
Jun 08, 2010 Adri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So, I've never read a Kitty Kelly tell-all unauthorized biography before. For obvious reasons. But, I'm always amazed by those who start out with nothing and achieve so much, so I thought it would be interesting to read about the most powerful woman in television. The beginning (about Oprah's growing up), was pretty interesting. But, then it just got to be TOO MUCH OPRAH for me. I couldn't even finish it (I skimmed to the end). I never want to know that much about anyone, ever again.

Usually I lo
Paula Goff christy
Interesting if Disconcerting

The one thing celebrities have in common is ego. Kitty Kelly pulls no punches, displaying Oprah's to the world, throwing it on the ground and walking all over it. However, she never actually goes for the knockout blow. It just never happens in this book.

A huge issue I have with this biography is Kelly's psychoanalysis of the Black American Female. How in the hell does she know? She offers no evidentiary documentation or credential to back up anything she says. How doe
Jezebel referred to this as “stuff you already knew about Oprah” and it’s true, pretty much.

I never read Kitty Kelley’s other books and the subjects of them don’t interest me, so I probably won’t. I did read that she’s well known for not citing her sources, having people she spoke say they never spoke to her or that they never said what she attribute to them, etc.

I know Oprah is upset by this biography but I can’t really see why, to be honest. A lot of it is either public knowledge or common sen
Apr 05, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit, tv
Ahh, the unauthorized bio from Kitty Kelly! You know you are in for a good time when you pick up her shit. Oddly, I never had before and I don't really know why I picked up this one as I don't really care about Oprah all that much. Well, whatever! I am always up for learning something new that even if I don't care about, I wonder why a lot of people do. The big topics in this book were weight and race. I remember all shit that went down with her weight and stuff but maybe because I grew up in LA ...more
Jun 30, 2010 Brittany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who just want to learn a thing or two about Oprah, or at least, the Oprah behind the curtain.
How I Came To Read This Book: After all the buzz out there, I put my name on the library waiting list and the rest is history.

The Plot: Obviously, this is the unauthorized biography of Oprah’s life. It’s set up in a vaguely chronological format that looks at Oprah’s childhood, her early years in radio and television, and the rise of her media empire. That being said, once it’s established that her show exists, the remaining chapters each take a look at a specific element of her persona and empir
Ellen Puccinelli
No real surprises here. Kitty Kelley is a pretty decent writer and a pretty thorough researcher. I doubt it was a real challenge to find a lot of people who were willing to criticize one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world, but I found it sad that the most bitter words seemed to come from Oprah's own relatives. It was also sad to me that it's likely that Oprah isn't the down-to-earth unselfish philanthropist we all like to think she is ..... it's one thing to know that somewhe ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oprah is an American icon. Kitty Kelly has produced an impressive book presenting an enormous amount of information, concerning the queen of daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey, in all her greatness along with all her contradictions.
Kelley’s book begins with a preface explaining that her biography is unauthorized and despite multiple attempts to contact Winfrey, no such request was fulfilled. Kelley poured over interviews and video clips to give Oprah a distinct voice. She also interviewed those who had
Aide Acuna
Jul 17, 2012 Aide Acuna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a biography on Oprah's life. Although we think we know her from TV you will get to know her even better after reading this book. Kelley did an amazing job on researching Oprah's life and the type of evidence she uses just goes to show her dedication to writing such a real life story of a woman many people don't exactly know. Oprah is famous for all the talk shows she's had with famous celebrities and people in the world. She always seems to get the biggest secrets out during her show and ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Hilary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always hesitant to read an "unauthorized" biography, as sometimes they can be looking so hard for trash in the person's past, the events can get sort of clouded. I have to say this time, it wasn't that way. Kitty Kelly reported factually to her best ability and always was clear where the information came from.

I had no idea that Oprah was a prostitute, that she was sexually abused, or that she had a child while in high school. I had no idea of the drive that made her what she is today, start
Apr 21, 2010 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop-culture
Nobody expected this to be classy, and it isn't. It is trashy, gossipy, salacious and scandalous. And for what it is, it is very very good. Kelley delivers the goods and she circumvents biographer etiquette in the most clever way; she uses interviews Oprah has given to magazines and newspapers throughout her career to deliver statements in Oprah's "own words" to back up or contradict the research and interviews Kelley did herself for the book. Is it believable? Not always. It is entertaining? Ve ...more
Francis M.
Gave it 2 stars but I feel it was too much, this book makes Oprah look HORRIBLE!! I mean a woman with all that power of course she has a lot of skeletons in her closet, but this book was a lot more bad than good when it comes to her and how she came about to being this huge millionaire..... I told my boyfriend to get me this book because I'm very inspired by Oprah and wanted to read her book for pointers but I got non. I honestly don't know if it's the writer or the fact that Oprah is highly hig ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audio -- After I decided that after 25 yrs of watching O almost everyday, that I was not going to follow her to the OWN channel. I do not live my life according to Oprah and found some of her shows not relevant to me. so now that I am going to leave Oprah to do what it is she will do, I was curious enopugh to listen to this book.
As anyone else who is very rich, isolation and paranoia come with fame. I was actually glad that Kitty was not able to break the O barrier. I thought Kitty was kinder to
Apr 28, 2010 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I don't normally read "un-authorized" biographies but I just couldn't resist this one about Oprah. Kitty Kelley has portrayed Oprah as quite the Diva and very demanding. Personally, I've always thought that off-camera Oprah would be a completely different person than when she was on-camera. What I read in Kelley's biography, I don't doubt for one minute. She doesn't slander her throughout the entire book and does make mention of the good deeds Oprah has done over the years through her Angel Netw ...more
Jun 02, 2010 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-reading
I actually didn't finish it, because it was so hard to read. I'm not a huge fan of Oprah, so I was looking for some good dirt. But because I don't really care about her, it was hard for me to go on reading about her life. The book reads like it was written by me, in the ninth grade. The structure is atrocious!! It tries to be chronological, but some paragraphs jump back fifteen years, and others reference things in the future. It's like the author took all of her notes, didn't organize them, and ...more
Darcia Scates
Author Kitty Kelly presents a very informational but biased and unsupportive view of Oprah. I am a die hard fan of Oprah. Kitty only interviewed and quoted people who were anti-Oprah. For example in regards to the James Frey dishonesty fiasco, Kitty only quotes his editor Nan. Everyone else from Fox studios to the publisher fired him and no longer wanted to work with him. Yet kitty only quotes the one person who is still working for him-his editor Nan. Editor Nan says it was all Oprah"s fault fo ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitty Kelley has written an interesting but highly disjointed biography. There doesn't seem to be any coherent structure and no particular arc or themes emerge. Chapters start off seeming to be about one topic, lurch onto another and then end somewhere else again. This makes the book hard to follow. Basic dates or facts like when and how Oprah met and became friends with Gayle King/Maria Shriver or why she parted ways with Jeff Jacobs are skimmed over or left out.

In fairness to Kelley it's appar
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Kitty Kelley is an American investigative journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Described as a "poison pen" biographer, her profiles frequently contain unflattering personal anecdotes and details, and their accuracy is often questioned. Though many of her books have topped the best sellers list, Kelley's credibility and sources have ...more
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“Instinctively she knew that talking, talking, talking kept people from probing, probing, probing. The more she seemed to reveal about herself, the more she could hide, and still appear to be open and forthcoming.” 0 likes
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