Tuesday, March 22, 2011

American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare, The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee-Karen Abbott

AH, Gypsy Rose Lee. I remember watching her on TV when I was a kid, with her protruding front teeth, and her big personality, I was charmed. I saws the movie Gypsy when I was a teen and she looked so glamorous, but I never saw her act. This book made me aware that her whole life and persona was an act.

Starting in vaudeville at a very tender age, Louise as she was called, was the ugly duckling sister to her beautiful sister, Baby June. Her mother Rose was not the funny stage mother character, she was much, much worse, a monster.

It made me sad to read about all of the things working against her, and even some of the things she had going for her. She constantly had to deal with her overbearing mother and her jealousy of her sister. Gangsters ruled and she did what she felt she had to do to survive as a burlesque queen.

Queen she was! At one time she was the hottest ticket in town. An author, a sometime movie actress, Gypsy wanted fame and fortune. Growing up in terrible poverty, on the road, and playing second fiddle to her sister, all contributed to the character Gypsy became.

She was funny as hell on the talk show circuit. What a dame. They don't make them like her anymore, dammit!

I downloaded this e-book from my public library.


  1. Sounds interesting and I love the cover, it captures the era wonderfully.

  2. I remember reading her memoir in late middle school or early high school. What fun, and this book looks great!

  3. Too many titles/subtitles, though...