Artie Why's Reviews > American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee

American Rose by Karen Abbott
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's review
May 30, 2011

it was ok
Read in May, 2011

Considering the fact that I think Gypsy is perhaps the greatest Broadway musical ever written, I've always been intrigued with the story of Gypsy, June and Rose). While this book is somewhat of an interesting read it is very poorly constructed. The author jumps from one decade to another; back and forth. This makes it very confusing to remember the chronilogical order of Gypsy's life. And, by the author's own admission, Gypsy Rose Lee created her life story; omitting things, embelishing things, stealing things. So, unfortunately, all we get is a retelling of the stories that Gypsy wanted told. The author doesn't get beneath the falsities to the true story of Louise, June and mama Rose. Perhaps it's impossible to get to the real story because all of the fabrications have been accepted as the truth for so long.

The author interviewed June Havoc and admits that June was not totally forthcoming; keeping secrets that have never been revealed.

All in all, a poor job of "investigative" writing. All we are given is the "fable" that Gypsy Rose Lee created about herself, her sister and her mother. You have to just accept your not getting the true story and have fun with little tidbits here and there.
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