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I'm the One That I Want

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,635 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Comedian. Icon. TV star. Role model. Trash talker. Fag hag. Gypsy. Tramp. Thief. Margaret Cho displays her numerous sides in this funny, fierce, and honest memoir. As one of the country’s most visible Asian Americans, she has a unique perspective on identity and acceptance. As one of the country’s funniest and most quoted personalities, she takes no prisoners. And as a war ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published April 28th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Mindy
Margaret Cho is one of my favorite comedians of all time. I absolutely love her. I've seen her a couple times and I don't think I have ever laughed harder at a comedy show. This memoir is definitely funny in places but most of it is pretty serious. It was published in 2000 and I'm so glad that I know she just got better and better. There were times reading this that I just wanted to give her a hug! Margaret has always told it like it is and for that I will always worship her.

Jennifer
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography-memoir
I'm glad that Margaret Cho told her story. It's a brave story about living for too long not valuing herself, and descending into various addictions and unhealthy relationships. This wasn't bad, but I never really connected with it. I'm not really sure why this is was. It could've been due to the writing, the lack of detail in the vignettes, or because I didn't find this as humorous as I thought that I would.
Nannah
Yeaaaah, I'm not sure why this is in the categories "Humor" or "Comedy". I mean, sure, Margaret Cho is a comedian, but the book itself isn't comedic. It has comedic touches, but it's overall a pretty serious account of her life leading up to her career taking off.

Content warnings (oh boy):
drug addiction
alcoholism
sexual harassment
rape
gendered slurs
transphobia (&transphobic slurs)
homophobic slurs
fatshaming
racism (in-book)
ableism

I wanted to like this so bad. My mother loves Margaret Cho, and althou
...more
Lain
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
I am always interested in memoirs by famous people. Tracking their path to fame is usually enlightening and entertaining.

I've found that books by comics are particularly difficult to read. So much of their entertainment value comes from non-verbal communications. This was true of Cho as well. The book felt flat to me, and it was disjointed, jumping from timeframe to timeframe with no particular rhyme or reason. While many of the anecdotes conveyed were interesting, I had trouble following along.
...more
Rekha
Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Margaret Cho expands upon the material of her popular stand-up routine and film of the same name in this memoir. Less outrageously funny and downright sad in many instances, Cho writes about her lonely childhood and the odd jobs she worked at the beginning of her stand up career. She discusses her career ups and downs, her experiences with drugs, sex, and alcohol, and her family with the fearlessly honest tone that permeates her comedy persona.
Diana180
Apr 25, 2014 added it
Shelves: read2014
I want to like Margaret Cho, but far too much of this book is an addict memoir and those get tedious if you haven't been there. The publishing company does not seem to have given her the good editors, either. The episode about a church youth group retreat, however, is one of the most unsparing victim's eye descriptions of teenage bullying I have ever read, and should be required reading for youth workers.
Tina
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
"I was a bit disappointed that it was forgotten so easily, but I learned something very important that day: When you are on a stage and you wave, people wave back. This information would become very important for me later on."

"I was stoic, silent, nonviolent even back then. I didn't pay attention. But I stayed at that same school for five more years, which is forever when you are a kid, and I must admit, it wore me down. I think I lost something there--an interior brightness. The luster and the
...more
Louise
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book begins with some very painful childhood experiences... she was not just bullied, she was reviled. Even at a church sponsored summer camp, she was traded off by girls who should have been her friends, but sought social acceptance by joining in Margaret's (Moran's) humiliation. There are no adults around to intercede. Her parents seem to agree with the world's negative opinion of her. It is no surprise that she drops (flunks) out of school and finds companionship among those in society's ...more
Alex
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really like Margaret Cho, and I liked the idea of this book, mostly from the self-empowerment title. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Less funny, and a lot more dark and depressing. A lot of the book focuses on her addiction to drugs and alcohol, and her self-image issues. And if it was a fictional book, I would probably have got frustrated with her as a protagonist and told her to get over it. But it was real, and she really went through it, and I can see why some people are put off th ...more
Sarah
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: q4-2009
"I'm the one that I want" by Margaret Cho is one of the funniest books I've read. It's a halarious story of how she was raised by drag queens, was thrown into show business, and how cruel the real world can be. Cho shows her true strength in how she was able to over come critical managers, tv directors, and her audience. When she was very young she starred in a tv show about being Asian in America. Everything was going well until she was informed by her manager that she was "too fat to play hers ...more
Trin
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
The written version of Cho's fabulously funny (and now classic) one-woman show, this book is alternately hilarious and excruciating. A lot of the material will be familiar to those who know Cho's act (though she left out the lesbian cruise/"Where's MY parade?" bit! WHY?), but there's also lots--and lots and lots and lots--of Cho's struggles with body issues, with drugs, with disastrously low self-esteem. I appreciate that Cho went through all of that, and that she overcame it, but it is painful ...more
Liz
Aug 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
I LOVE Margaret Cho. When she's making fun of her mother, she's making fun of MY mother, and there's something about knowing that there are other girls out there who've "suffered" under a Korean run household in America that makes me warm inside. (I too have used rice when we didn't have glue at home.) That said, I only made it through the first handful of chapters before I had to put the book down. This must say something about her stand up delivery. To read her is NOT at all as funny as to hea ...more
Sheena
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I really like Margaret Cho and have explored her works while studying and writing about feminist political thought for my undergrad. The beginning of the book works well, maybe because all the crap of being an outcast child and teenager was so distant at the time she wrote it. The second half, being so much closer at the time of writing, makes for a bit of an uncomfortable read. Despite concluding with profound statements about loving and accepting oneself, after reading through the final chapte ...more
Megan
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book took me by surprise. It took a few chapters for me to really understand Cho's style and appreciate it. Initially, it appeared to me that she was trying too hard to be "weird" and "out there." However, as I got into it, it grew on me, and it only added to her amazing character.

You want to be friends with her, root for her. Her life is so dramatic and twisted and you want so badly for her to win the fight. She's brutally honest and says the things that most women are too hesitant to say-
...more
JoJo
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
If I hadn't had to read this book for a class, I would not have finished it. Although some parts of it were legitimately funny/poignant/insightful, the vast majority of the book was a pity-party about how much Cho was picked on as a kid, her drinking and drug problems, and her annoying self-loathing she experienced through the majority of her life. I imagine that, by including all the negative parts about ex-boyfriends and substance abuse, she was meaning to instill in people the idea that it is ...more
Mark
Mar 07, 2014 rated it liked it
While this book shares a title with her late-90s comedy show, this is not a comic memoir. Not surprisingly, since Cho's humor works more with timing and exaggerated effect rather than one-liners, but there is enough humor laced throughout to keep these slices of life from becoming too grim.

These tales of living with bullying and the self-destructive behaviors that can result should be on every high school reading list, but it won't be, because she swears and has an abortion and because parents a
...more
Dora
Do not read if depressed

In this memoir, cho does not sugar coat her experiences. Some people buy books for their covers; I bought this one for its title. To be honest I had to fight to finish this book. The first 18 chapters had little to recommend them unless you like to read about self-loathing, drunkenness, drug addiction, and indiscriminate sex. The last two chapters were the best and described how Cho finally decided to stop the madness, love herself, and resurrect her career.
Maggie
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A friend loaned me this book and I found it very funny and very sad. It was interesting to see what Margaret went through and to be reminded of the very few Asian shows and performers are out there. (That aren't put in stereotypical rolls.) I don't watch TV so I was a little saddened that things haven't changed. I'm going to watch the DVD as soon as the library send me the copy!
Jason
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Funny, well written and a no holds barred account of Margaret Cho's life.
chantel nouseforaname
Margaret Cho is hilarious. There's also a well of pain in there. I did like the overall message towards the end of the book. Sometimes it was a bit painful to get there, to the end of the book, especially after being soaked in her booze, boos and vomit. However, in the end, her message was as true as daylight. Love yourself. Be yourself. That's the only way to happiness and it's how you'll be happiest.
Yolanda
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing


In her brilliant memoir, comedienne Margaret Cho analyzes her life with the skill of an offbeat poet-philosopher.

I’M THE ONE THAT I WANT is a tiny gem, hard, tough, searing and unrelenting in its honesty. (It’s that unrelenting honesty that made me feel weary by the end of the book. But I felt I’d accomplished something.)

Ms. Cho re-lives a litany of bad relationships with boyfriends she dislikes/hates and can’t wait to dump. Three men stand out. Jon and Glenn—the two men she fell in love with—a
...more
Rj
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Recently a new sitcom about a Korean-Canadian family premiered on CBC. While watching the show I was reminded of Margaret Cho's show All-American Girl and began watching the show on YouTube to see how it held up all these years later. I had loved the show not only because of Cho but also because I had a crush on B.D. Wong who played her brother. While rewatching the show I became more curious about Cho's life so I picked up the book. Written in that quick spoken word type manner favoured by cele ...more
DubaiReader
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2014
A comedienne narrates her life.

I listened to this version of Margaret Cho's life, as an unabridged audiobook, read by the author. I liked that the author narrated it herself, especially when she impersonated her mother, but her male voices were painful.

I enjoyed the early part of the story the most; Margaret was a loner, picked on by the other children for being different, but she told her story without sounding overly sorry for herself. Unfortunately the second part of the book was Margaret's
...more
Magadored wants to extrude your face normals
I haven't read this book in years but I wanted to leave some kind of a reminder to myself not to do it again. I love Margaret Cho and think she's hilarious. I'm grew up surrounded by Asians, of all kinds, and it amazes me how much her comedy rings true for all of them. Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, or whatever: there seems to be a deep thread of shared cultural absurdity that manifests itself in surprisingly similar ways. I also get this feeling whenever I listen to Carlos Men ...more
Bunny
I love Margaret Cho. I am convinced she and I would be BFFs. Not even kidding. She's amazing. I watched her show when I was much younger, and saw a few of her performances on television. I always liked her.

I didn't know what to expect going into this. I didn't know if it was going to be a straight memoir, or if it was going to be funny, or sad. It was all of the above. She had me cracking up at one point, thoughtful at another. The harder parts of her life, she tells in a very real way, without
...more
Kesha
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Traci  Medeiros
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: my mom... and I did! :)
Shelves: feminist
I was definitely not a fan of Margaret Cho in the beginning... All American Girl days... but after reading this book and giving her another chance, with all my queer feminist girlfriends raving about her, I get that what I didn't like about the show was also largely what Cho didn't like about the show either. This book also helps you come to realize that the All American Girl days... weren't nearly The Beginning. I love her as a comedian, respect her so much as an activist, and am constantly ama ...more
Kristal Cooper
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a brutal, honest memoir about every painful event that made Margaret Cho the comedy diva that she is today. There is an amazing lot of introspection here -- levels of understanding that usually come from long hours in a psychiatrist's office, or from the pen of a ghost writer. For some reason, I get the feeling that neither apply here -- that Margaret is strong enough and smart enough to have come to these realizations on her own.

The book starts with her birth and goes right up to the t
...more
Amy Holland
I feel like I must have read this book before, because I went through a phase of reading all Margaret Cho's books a few years ago. I didn't particularly remember this one, so I got into it a few nights ago because I guess I felt like reading something empowering. A lot of Cho's writing borders on motivational speaker-y, which I typically don't go for. But she had a lot of terrible experiences, and it seems like she had to get in the habit of positive self-talk in order to dig herself out of the ...more
Helen
I remember when All American Girl came out and how excited I was that finally - finally! - an Asian American sitcom was on my tv. It wasn't until I saw her standup show that I realised how awful it was behind the scenes, with producers pressuring her to lose weight because "her face looked too full".

I've seen a couple of Cho's shows but this book is nothing like them. It's a harrowing and bleak read of what seems like a tortured life, plagued by self-doubt and a never ending onslaught of bad rel
...more
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Margaret Cho is an American comedian, fashion designer and actress. Cho is known for her stage performances, recordings, and concert movies. Her shows are a mixture of her comedy stylings with strong political and cultural commentary. Apart from these shows she has also directed and appeared in music videos, and started her own clothing line. She has frequently supported gay rights and identifies ...more

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“We must know who we are, so we can know what we want, so we don’t end up wanting the wrong thing and get it and realize we don’t want it, because by then it is too late.” 6 likes
“He must have been mad, because when things happen to women, we are supposed to remain silent. Our shame should make us want to act like nothing happened, maintain the decorum. I refuse to be silent, therefore I become some sort of criminal.
I think if we told our stories and said out loud what has happened to us, to warn other women, to comfort those who have had the same things happen to them, to show that we are not alone, the world would suddenly become a bigger and better place.”
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