Life with My Sister Madonna
By: Christopher Ciccone
Paige’s Rating: (4) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: Non-Fiction/Pop-Culture Readers
Ciccone’s extraordinary memoir is based on his life and forty-seven years of growing up with and working with his sister – the most famous woman in the world.
Ok wait. Now before you chastise me about picking up a book highlighting someone like Madonna, let me remind you that my book selection in Turkey is limited to what I am given by friends, er, a friend, and that English books are not something I can pick up at the corner shop, rather they require me to take a trip into the city and doing some hunting. With that said, I hope that justifies why I picked up this book to read. Now, let me justify why I not only read it, but finished it in two days.
Let’s start with what this book isn’t. This book is not a really good biography of Madonna, as Christopher can hardly remain biased about his opinions on his sister. You will not find much information about her early life, as that was not something he was included in, and you will not find much information about her past relationships, as the author mentions them but never fully describes the complex personalities of the men that Madonna dated and married. In fact, none of the characters are fully developed except for Chris and of course, Madonna.
So what is this book, if not a biography? It is a bitch fit. It is a tell-all about Madonna’s childhood, rise to fame, struggles with insomnia and insecurity, thirst for fame at all costs, and hunger for power and control. Christopher, as an author, does not write very well but he can at least paint a very accurate picture of his sister. However, you can sense that he doesn’t know throughout the book just how much to damn her. He tends to waver from praising her to criticizing her. Madonna isn’t necessarily portrayed as an evil witch, but some of the comments that Chris makes or insights on her personality definitely raises an eyebrow. As you get the full picture of Madonna before fame and after, you sort of understand why she acts the way she does. Is her conceited, egotistical attitude warranted? Probably not, but her shrew business ethics probably are.
Interestingly enough, as Christopher attempts to tell the world about his sister, he also ends up telling us a lot about himself. He is a complete masochist. Yes, his sister asks for his help, and then pushes him away. She will stiff him on money that is owed to him and she will constantly remind him that he is nobody without her. She will treat him like crap, and he will keep going back for more. Why? In a sense, Madonna is right. He is nothing without her, and the lifestyle he enjoys in Hollywood would not exist without her. He never seems to make much of an effort to break away from her mold and establish himself as his own person and you really begin to sense how dysfunctional both of them are.
So why read this book? It is an easy read and a fast read. I don’t love Madonna and can’t say I am a huge fan of hers, but it was interesting to get a glimpse into a world otherwise hidden from us. If you need an escape, this is it.