Malaprop’s hosts American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare — The Life And Times Of Gypsy Rose Lee author Karen Abbott on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m.
The book is about burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee who was famous for her strip tease act dating back to the 1930s.
“Gypsy was so smart that she realized a stage performer’s fame was transitory and fixed her image just as she wanted it for posterity in a bestselling, critically acclaimed memoir,” writes Los Angeles Times. “She was so smart that she turned down $200,000 for the movie rights to her heavily retouched portrait of her life and instead took $4,000 and a percentage of the gross in Gypsy, the greatest American musical of its day and perennial favorite showcase of Broadway divas.”
But Rose isn’t just about Gypsy Rose Lee, it’s about her mother, Mama Rose, “the stage mother from hell.”
“This is a truly first-rate and very disturbing work, very skillfully modulated,” writes an Amazon reviewer. “It’s a horror story of about as psychotic a mother as could be and the devastation she created in her abuse and exploitation of her children. The known murders she committed seem just part of her detachment from anything or anyone outside her anger, viciousness, ambition and just sheer perversion. As a tale of showbiz, poverty and struggle, the tragic triangle of Rose, June [Gypsy’s sister] and Gypsy is compelling.”
Listen to an NPR interview with Abbott here.