Oprah … do I really need to know all this?

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...

Oprah on one of her first shows.

I recently returned from a fabulous week at Lake Tahoe. Sun, water, good friends, great wine and lots of helping hands in the kitchen. There were a couple of things I wanted to make sure I did while in Tahoe:

Swim in the lake – check

Play in one of the casinos – check

Catch up with friends from high school days – check

Sleep in – well, not so much (but I did manage some great naps)

Boat around the entire lake – Nope (it’s a gigantic lake!)

Read – I tried….

I was happy to take the ol’ Nook out for a trial run. I had no idea what to read so I got a few suggestions from my sister and then made sure to download them all before I left. I’ve got to say that’s one fabulous thing about the Nook – You do not have to pack books and magazines along with all the clothes you’re never going to wear on vacation.

I really like biographies and my sister Nancy suggested Oprah by Kitty Kelly. I’m not a big fan of Oprah or Kitty Kelly but it sounded trashy and an easy read. When I finally had some early morning time to myself, I brought out the Nook and proceeded to flip to the Oprah book.

A couple of things about Oprah that I know. We are the same age so I understand the changes going on around her during the sixties and seventies. I know she likes to share stories about her personal growth while keeping her past at arm’s length. She’s never been married or raised any children (I did know something about a pregnancy during her teen years but wasn’t sure what happened with that). She has a boyfriend and a BFF.

I don’t really watch her show and thought when she finally bowed out this year, it was a bit over-the-top.

Kitty Kelly, on the other hand, likes to write unauthorized biographies which are good and bad. Good, because I don’t think the subject would really tell-all, and bad because I’m not sure her sources are all that unbiased or honest.

So with an open mind (truly) I began the Oprah saga.

There were a couple of interesting facts I found out like her high school years. Oprah was smart (I didn’t doubt that) and integration in public school was a big time movement and she seemed to enjoy the status. Oprah did really well in school (especially when it came to her speech classes) and went on to college. She also won some beauty contests in her senior year (THAT surprised me) and had a job at a radio station. She was popular and was Senior Class Vice President.

What surprised me is how she has never looked back or helped out her school. Oprah’s high school was located in a low-to-middle class neighborhood. Some years back, the school was turned into a Charter-type school to help low-achieving children. The student body from days past got together to raise much-needed funds for the school (like $50 bricks) and the committee reached out to one of their most famous grads. According to Oprah’s friend (and Senior Class President), Oprah has never responded to their requests or even bought a lousy $50 brick.

Which leads me to ask – How can Oprah build and support a school in Africa for needy children and not help those needy children in her own neighborhood? Mind you, I totally understand Oprah can spend her billions anyway she wants, but it’s hard for me to believe her heart doesn’t want to help those who are now walking in her shoes.

I made it past her high school years, college days and on to her first job in broadcasting. I’m not sure if Kitty Kelly just doesn’t like Oprah or Oprah was a big time be-atch, but the stories got to be a bit nasty.

I can’t ready anymore about Oprah. I need a break and shake her from my head.

My sisters and I will be heading out for a weekend to celebrate some birthdays. Can anyone give me a suggestion for another good biography?

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5 Responses to “Oprah … do I really need to know all this?”

  1. kimberle Says:

    Welcome home, I’m so glad “the big chill” 60’s reunion was great. I’m going to throw my two cents in on your biography/autobiography issue. Some of my favorites are David McCullough “John Adams” or “1776”, both were great reads. The Power & the Presidency was wonderful too, it is a collection from varius modern historians on various presidents. Short reads that for the most part make you want more. I’m a huge Ben Franklin fan as you know and loved “In His Words” the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
    In the entertainment industry I loved Ronnie Woods book, Liz Taylors biography was revealing as was “Tis Herself” – Maureen O’Hara. One more and I’ll go away I think you might enjoy “Truth Be Told” Larry King has lived a long time to bring you his inside stuff. Okay enough from me.
    I’m also looking for some good stuff, having knee surgeory Thursday and my Nook and I are going to get real cozy so I hope others will give me some juicy ideas. Love you, hope to see you soon. Enjoy the sister travels……..

  2. Patti Rasmussen Says:

    great suggestions Kim. We do share a love of politics (even if we are sometimes on the opposite sides 🙂
    You didn’t mention Eric Clapton. Thought you liked that one.
    I’m thinking that Maureen O’Hara one is my next download.

  3. kimberle Says:

    Actually I thought Eric came off as extremely pompous, he should have used an autobiographer or at the very least a ghost writer. Definitely not one of my favs.

  4. Cheryl Phillips Says:

    I just finished The Paris Wife – a fictional biography of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. Right before I read the book I saw the movie, Midnight in Paris, which was great because I had a perfect visual of Paris, Ernest and all the expatriates of the 1920s. Much of the book is based on their life together, but of course the dialogue and situations were fictionalized. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. Below is the Goodreads summary.

    The Paris Wife
    by Paula McLain (Goodreads Author)
    3.75 · rating details · 7,442 ratings · 2,229 reviews

    No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view — that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her.”

  5. Cheryl Phillips Says:

    And one more –

    The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks
    by Nicole LaPorte

    If you have any interest in Hollywood, movies, or how movies get made you’re going to love this book. The book tells us how Dreamworks SKG Studio became a reality from its inception to the day it all fell apart. Great insight into the monumental egos of Katzenberg, Spielberg and Geffen, the back room deals, the tantrums and why in the end it all failed. If you love your People Magazine – you will love this book………………..

    Here’s the flyleaf summary:

    Book Description
    Publication Date: May 4, 2010
    For sixty years, since the birth of United Artists, the studio landscape was unchanged.Then came Hollywood’s Circus Maximus—created by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave the world The Lion King—an entertainment empire called DreamWorks. Now Nicole LaPorte,who covered the company for Variety, goes behind the hype to reveal for the first time the delicious truth of what happened.

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