If you don’t like Kathy Griffin, you aren’t going to like this book. It doesn’t matter how many stars I give it or what I say about it, although, how flattering if it would! If you are reading this and don’t know who she is, I will just say she’s hysterically crass (that’s Rated-R) and most celebrities fear her. Or should.

I saw Kathy Griffin perform on tour this past January and her show, a 2-hour rant against celebrities and their crazy antics, had the audience roaring from start to finish. My sides were actually hurting so much that I counted the outing as my ab workout for the day. I definitely had a blast at her show; yet I am not a big celebrity memoir person. I did not rush out to buy the book that Kathy herself said she named OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION in hopes that consumers would think Oprah had chosen it. Imagine my delight, however, when my gal pal Cynthia loaned me her copy and said, “You will cruise through this. I bet you can knock it out in four hours.” Confession time: I don’t read as fast as Cynthia thinks I do, but it was definitely a cruiser and I cleared it within the week.

OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION chronicles Griffin’s upbringing as the youngest of four children to John and Mary Griffin of Oak Park, Illinois. A self-proclaimed “… kid who needed to talk. All the time.”, Griffin loved television and storytelling more than anything else (maybe not as much as cake, but they surely ran a close second). After high school she decided to take her gift of gab and love of Hollywood to the City of Angels with dreams of breaking into the biz.

Griffin does a great job detailing the road to stardom – it’s full of hard work, paying dues (unless you are John Corbett or Heidi Montag, one of whom she loves and the other she loathes), lots of rejection and definite double standards. She maintains a highly conversational tone and I felt as if I was following her around to auditions and growing up with her as she struggled to find her niche. As a member of the Groundlings (picture LA’s version of Second City) she worked day in and day out attempting to perfect her craft but had her share of failures, like when she blew the audition with Lorne Michaels to secure a spot on Saturday Night Live (Groundlings member Julia Sweeney nabbed it).

While the book is certainly funny, Griffin does a good job covering the not so funny stuff: a brother with many secrets, her volatile friendship with Andy Dick, and her failed marriage. I admit that prior to reading OFFICIAL BOOK CLUB SELECTION, I thought anyone was fair game for her, yet she does have boundaries. Also revelatory, she hasn’t pissed off everyone in Hollywood (and there’s even a key group of folks with whom she strives to stay in the best of graces). I thought she handled the serious sections well and they exposed a side of Kathy Griffin outside of the brash and off-color that most don’t ever get to see.

But let’s face it. Griffin’s job is to find the funny and make people laugh at almost anyone’s expense. And, laugh I did. The most, in fact, during the last two pages of the book. It was her hilariously written Reading Group Guide Questions that had me bump my final rating up a star. Yes, the questions are that funny.

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 357