I didn't grow up a fan of Madonna. Aware of her, yes, few people weren’t, but my pop star devotion was directed elsewhere. Not having obsessively read about her, actually not really knowing anything about her and then reading this book probably makes my take on it different than that of a devoted fan.
Out of seven siblings, Christopher, younger by three years seems to have had the closest relationship with her. He talks about the various roles--backup dancer, personal assistant, dresser, interior designer, art and tour director, and general supporter--he has had in her life.
She hurts him in many ways; stiffs him for money, invites him to live with her or work for her and then changes her mind, and allows the friends of her latest husband to take pot shots at him. The portrait of Madonna that emerges is not flattering.
But to me, more unflattering is the portrait that Christopher paints of himself. That of a desperate hanger oner. He always says he has no choice but to acquiesce to her every whim, but that’s not true. Not if he’s willing to give up the access to celebrity and ease that comes with the roles she offers him.
Christopher gives a full portrayal of the best and worst of Madonna, but his account is bitter, making it hard to know what is really true. At her worst, she is publicity crazy . . . and at her best she is a shrewd business woman.
Christopher has much to say about her husbands; Sean Penn was angry and uncontrolled, and that Guy Ritchie is homophobic and unpleasant. Warren Beatty emerges as the best of her beaus, giving more evidence of maturity and having some greater sense of the absurdity of Madonna's fame and how she chose to take it on.
All in all, I enjoyed seeing a world typically hidden, as well as the various bits of celebrity dish shared, and surprisingly, it is quite well written. A sign that the attention to detail that has made Madonna a success is perhaps a trait held by more than just one member of the Ciccone family. Check catalog for availability.