Last Girl Before Freeway by Leslie Bennetts
The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers

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Bennetts portrays her subject as a woman much more complex than her outwardly abrasive personality might suggest, and while some sections fly by, others are so weighed down by the particulars, like the reasons behind Rivers leaving the Tonight Show, that the book is at risk of losing the vibrancy readers will no doubt expect, given its subject.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Named one of "40 Gifts for the Book Lover on Your List," by Good Housekeeping
The definitive book about Joan Rivers' tumultuous, victorious, tragic, hilarious, and fascinating life.

Joan Rivers was more than a legendary comedian; she was an icon and a role model to millions, a fearless pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers' career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life.

A juicy, intimate biography of one of the greatest comedians ever-a performer whose sixty year career was borne, simply, out of a desire to make people laugh so she could feel loved-LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world around her.
 

About Leslie Bennetts

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Leslie Bennetts has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1988, writing on subjects that have ranged from movie stars to U.S. antiterrorism policy. Before joining that magazine, she was the first woman ever to cover a presidential campaign for The New York Times. Bennetts lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.
 
Published November 15, 2016 by Little, Brown and Company. 433 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Last Girl Before Freeway
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 26 2016

Bennetts portrays her subject as a woman much more complex than her outwardly abrasive personality might suggest, and while some sections fly by, others are so weighed down by the particulars, like the reasons behind Rivers leaving the Tonight Show, that the book is at risk of losing the vibrancy readers will no doubt expect, given its subject.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Manohla Dargis on Nov 28 2016

Bennetts has a tough time reconciling Joan the Impaler with Joan the Revolutionary, and the book pings and pongs with journalistic on-the-one-hand, on-the-other equivocation...it wouldn’t be an issue here if Bennetts shifted into deeper critical mode more often.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jonah Raskin on Nov 24 2016

Last Girl Before Freeway is likely to be, for our time, the definitive biography of the woman who was known as “the queen bitch,” a “vulgar comedian,” and a “grande dame.” She will probably be remembered as the woman who made jokes about oral sex, terrorists, and the Holocaust...

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