Based on three years of research and reporting, as well as 850 interviews with sources, many of whom have never before spoken for publication, Oprah is the first comprehensive biography of one of the most influential, powerful, and admired public figures of our time, by the most widely read biographer of our era.
Anyone who is a fan of Oprah Winfrey or who has followed her extraordinary life and career will be fascinated and newly informed by the closely observed, detailed, and well-rounded portrait of her provided by Kitty Kelley's exhaustively researched book. Listeners will come away with a greater appreciation of who Oprah really is beyond her public persona and a fuller understanding of her important place in American cultural history.
©2010 Kitty Kelley (P)2010 Random House
This is a long book but kept my wife and i through our 1000 mile vacation. Very interesting things about Oprah. Wow what she went through and has become. Just good info
This is high pop pulp, well executed. If you accept the book at this level, as a guilty pleasure, this is an lengthy and mostly entertaining read about late-20th Century society in America and one of its top media stars. Given Oprah's tight circle and heavy use of nondisclosure terms in contracts with everyone who works for her, Kelley's thoroughness is impressive. (Kelley's forward offers a persuasive defense for the unauthorized biography as an important genre, which is worth a read by itself.) The book is a long unvarnished portrait of the gutsy poor girl whose immense drive and talent propelled her to worldwide fame and a billion-dollar fortune. Kelley narrates the book herself, delivering an extra level of catty admiration in the audio edition that makes this an entertaining listen.
This book was generally interesting, but it was quite annoying that the author made so many snide comments. The reader's whiny tone of voice dictated a negative interpretation of her words. I kept wondering if she spoke the same words in a more positive manner, would their message be different? It seems to me that she took many, many things people said out of context and put a nasty spin on them. I got through the first two sections, but am not going to bother with the third. It seemed like hearsay from people who held grudges. I wouldn't bother with it.
Perhaps I learned a little bit more about the subject than I had previously, but it was a great price to pay for slogging through this boring account of every dollar she spent, every person she is or was mad at, or every luxury item she has purchased for her friends. The author's own narration was awful.
I'll save you a lot of time. She might have had sex for money when she was 13. She has a lot of neer do well relatives, some of whom are religious fanatics who feel they haven't bled her enough. She likes luxurious things and she holds a grudge if somebody shows her disrespect. OK, that is all you need to know about Oprah.
This is concise, backed up with facts and quotes in an interesting way. I couldn't stop listening. I like Oprah even more and understand her journey even better.
Useful and interesting because it gives lots of insight into a complex and very intriguing life.
It's a shame Kelley clearly has such an ax to grind and doesn't miss many opportunities to slant her presentation towards the negative. Fortunately the book has so much detail, that a careful reader can repair Kelley's journalistic corruption of her own work, and use the plentiful source material to get a good understanding of the personality's life.
But truths don't often come easy or directly, as Kelley frequently skips context to deliver somewhat misleading patches of information. Watch out for partial context historical comments by Opera, old statements associated with current events and points made that are later refuted in her telling of the story.
One example is a story she relays in which Opera's younger describes memories of Oprah selling sex for money. Then, many pages later, she mentions that the half sister, who told the tale, was at the time selling stories about Oprah to support a problem with drug addiction.
Another example is where she quotes comment after out of context comment, that seem to show Opera's lack of appreciation of her father ... then in one sentence, when it suits her story, mentions Oprah's life long attempts to shower gifts on the same father.
I thought it was a GREAT book/read!! Any reader needs to read the book with an open mind and realize that there are some truths and lies, but overall, it truly opened my eyes more to Oprah, her empire, personality and that she is not the perfect person that most of the housewives of America believe she is to be. Kitty did an excellent job with this book. A definite read for sure! I could not stop listening to it.
There are always at least two ways to tell a story... a recitation of the facts, not embellished with judgment... or the Kitty Kelley way, sensationalized to make things seem a whole lot more dramatic than they appear to be. If there is a way to ascribe ulterior motives to Oprah, then Kitty Kelley finds every single one of them. The one who comes out looking bad in this book is Kitty Kelley. Petty, mean-spirited, and judgmental. Her narration is abysmal as well. Wow. I actually like Oprah more after this book. And now I loathe Kitty Kelley.
Kitty Kelley has done a lot of research on this book and the result shows it. Behind every president / important person / successful person, there are a lot of interesting stories, how did one get there: some good parts and some less. At the end of the day it is always a combination of competence, luck, and being at the right place at the right time (opportunity). It is very well done and presented, the facts are written in a smart way. I highly recommend. Very interesting story.
It is kind of cool to hear all of Kelly's subjects get railed on in her books, and I think this is especially true for Oprah. Everything we associate with Oprah's image is so carefully controlled now that she has become a secular saint of sorts. Kelly paints a picture of her as scemeing, decietful, self centered, self richeous, greedy and bossy. The truth probably lies somewhere between. That said, this catty scandal rag of a book is absolutely fabulous! Kelly is a fun narrator because she is so vocally sarcastic. I laughed a lot while listening, and felt like an old lady sitting in a gossip corner at a church social. Well worth the money. I havent enjoyed an audiobook this much for a good while.
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