Book Review: The D-List Memoir

How are you doing Siren Book Clubbers? I’ve finished reading Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, by the star of Kathy Griffin My Life on the D-List. It was a really fun, juicy and sometimes poignant read from a comedian I really like. So much more fun to read than Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up! I’d even put it above Russel Brand’s My Booky Wook (although that was a fun read as well).

And even though Griffin’s tell-all might not have made THE book club list, she’s the very first for The Sin City Siren Book Club (picked by popular vote)! Woot! I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you still reading. (You have until Nov. 7!) But here are some of my thoughts on the book:

First of all, who knew I had so much in common with a celebrity?! (Don’t kid yourself, Griffin, you’re a celebrity. You’re neighbors with Drew Carey!) Let me count the ways:

  1. She hails from Illinois (I was born and raised there for 8 years)
  2. Latchkey kid
  3. Family with drinking, yet she has abstained
  4. Eating disorder — bingeing, not purging
  5. Experience with sexual abuse
  6. Grappled with estrangement from a family member
  7. Precocious kid who befriended adult neighbors for company
  8. Picked on at school; learned that being funny kept you safe
  9. Experienced sexism in the workplace, glass ceiling in “boys club” field
  10. Has gotten in trouble for having a big mouth

So, as you might expect from such a healthy list, I feel like I’ve bonded with Griffin after reading her book. I already like her reality show (her father died around the same time that my father-in-law did and my husband and I watched that unfold with tears in our eyes). She gives back to charity. Is a champion of gay rights. And she’s fucking hilarious!

I know there are some who were a little disappointed that Griffin’s book won the popular vote for the Siren book club. She’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I get that. But I think that amongst all the fun celebrity dish and her stories of personal humiliation on her way to the D-List, she shows her big heart, too. There are some really poignant moments in the book. And I think many will find her to be more warm and sweet than you might expect. And definitely a feminist!

Thank you, Ms. Griffin, for this line, “Blood is not thicker than water, not when it involves the abuse of kids.” And later, “There’s something about seeing the lifeless state of someone who really did terrify you that finally allows you to stop feeling afraid.” My regular readers know I survived sexual abuse myself. So these moments of raw honesty really resonated with me. But at the same time, I don’t feel like she exploited those darker experiences, the way some books I’ve read seem to. I was worried about what was going to be in print when I heard about her history with sexual abuse. Was it going to be graphic? Was it going to dredge up bad memories for me? Griffin handled it with tact and dignity. And I really appreciate that.

Lest I give you the impression that the whole book is a downer, far from it! There are some really great, juicy stories in there about sex, drugs and the rise and fall of fame. Just use the index in the back (awesome!) and see: Andy Dick, Brooke Shields, Tyra, Barbara Walters… need I go on?

But one of my favorite lines of the whole book has to be this one: What I love about the gays is that when I’ve been lost, they’ve found me.

Amen, Griffin, Amen.

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