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Publisher's Summary

Joan Rivers was known all over the world - from the Palace Theater to Buckingham Palace, from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the footlights of Broadway, from the days of talkies to hosting talk shows. But there was only one person who knew Joan intimately, one person who the authorities would call when she got a little out of hand. Her daughter and best friend, Melissa.

Joan and Melissa Rivers had one of the most celebrated mother-daughter relationships of all time. If you think Joan said some outrageous things to her audiences as a comedian, you won't believe what she said and did in private. Her love for her daughter knew no bounds - or boundaries, apparently. ("Melissa, I acknowledge that you have boundaries. I just choose to not respect them.") In The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation, Melissa shares stories (like when she was nine months old and her parents delivered her to Johnny Carson as a birthday gift), bon mots ("Missy, is there anything better than seeing a really good-looking couple pushing a baby that looks like a Sasquatch who got caught in a house fire?"), and life lessons from growing up in the Rosenberg-Rivers household ("I can do tips and discounts and figure out the number of gay men in an audience to make it a good show. That's all the math you'll ever need."). These were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to life in the family that Melissa describes as more Addams than Cleaver. And at the center of it all was a tiny blond force of nature.

In The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation, Melissa Rivers relates funny, poignant and irreverent observations, thoughts, and tales about the woman who raised her and is the reason she considers valium one of the four basic food groups.

©2015 Melissa Rivers (P)2015 Random House Audio

What members say

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  • Stittsville Shopper
  • 2015-05-08

Love Joan and Melissa but the book misses the mark

What did you like best about The Book of Joan? What did you like least?

Joan's Ivy Day address was fantastic and still timely. Use your manners, take your punches and learn from adversity. Similarly, I enjoyed the stories that involved people Joan didn't particularly like or people who disrespected her. There were things to be learned from those situations. Unfortunately, the revealing or truly interesting stories were few and far between.

What aspect of Melissa Rivers’s performance would you have changed?

The book needed one or two more rewrites to feel professional and smooth. Linking phrases were repeated again and again. The material itself was thin and needed considerable fleshing out. The ghost writer and editor really did not do their job well.

Any additional comments?

I read / listen to a lot of biographical books. This one is weaker than many but far from the worse. I still got a sense of Joan but I was disappointed by the lack of depth. I felt the book had the opportunity to be so much more. It's a good first or second draft but needs more polish to be great.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Simone
  • 2017-05-03

Homage to Joan

This was meant to be a humorous homage to Joan Rivers given by her daughter… except it’s not funny.

I felt like I was listening to a 5-hour long stand up routine by someone trying too hard to be funny. I didn’t find it was clever or dead-pan or comical at all, I think it missed the mark completely.

Perhaps if I was a Melissa Rivers FAN (as opposed to just knowing who she is) I might have seen glimpses of her personality in the prose and might have chuckled once or twice; sadly as it was, I think it was a flop.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexis
  • 2015-07-12

Could have been lot better

What disappointed you about The Book of Joan?

The whole thing was just a joke, but not a funny joke, there was no attempt to do anything authentic

Would you ever listen to anything by Melissa Rivers again?

I didn't expect much from this, but it seems a bit heartless, i was hoping for more of a tribute or memorial for Joan, not a bunch of non-funny "bits" which is what the whole thing was

How could the performance have been better?

It was ok, but it lacked variety in the delivery

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

def disappointment

Any additional comments?

Hopefully something better about Joan Rivers will come out soon.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Bryan K. Chavez
  • 2015-05-24

Can We Talk? Less Laughs, More Heart

I was expecting a more heartfelt memoir. With all due respect to Melissa Rivers, she is not a comedian. I felt like many of the jokes were unnecessary and forced, in attempt to be "funny" like her mother. (I didn't mind her relaying Joan's jokes. It's when the book veers off into Melissa's "stand-up routine" that I felt it was questionable. Joan's deftness and wit in delivering a joke was unparalleled.) I was hoping for more insight into the life and career of a comedy icon from a true insider. However, there is nothing new or really interesting here. The book may have been rushed to capitalize on her recent death and, frankly, it shows. I would have readily waited a year or two to pass for a more sincere, introspective and comprehensive memoir about a true comedy legend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • bethann
  • 2015-05-07


Melissa Rivers has given us, (the Joan Rangers), a great treat, by writing this book.
She held my attention captively, with her clever writing, and refreshing tales of her Mom. Though the focus was her Mom, the "take home" message I received from this was the real gift. What a tribute to a Mom, to have her equally talented and entertaining daughter respectfully remember her through love and laughter. I can't imagine a better way to go.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate M.
  • 2015-08-21

Misses the mark on being "funny"

Would you try another book from Melissa Rivers and/or Melissa Rivers?

No--I was interested in hearing about Melissa's mom from her perspective of daughter and coworker, but in her attempts to make it funny she lost me.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I learned a bit about Joan's life but not as much as I would have liked.

Which character – as performed by Melissa Rivers – was your favorite?

I did enjoy Melissa telling some of her mom's comedy bits. She did a good job reading the book as well.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?


2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • MamaK
  • 2017-10-03

Melissa makes this book difficult to get through

Some authors reading their own book greatly enhance the experience (Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Hart.) Melissa greatly detracts. I found it extremely difficult to listen to her stumbling through the reading. I couldn't muster on and had to change to a different book. It may be unfair to review a book I haven't completed, but I felt the need to warn you, Dear Listener. I feel like sometimes everyone on Audible gives a 4/5 star rating without being honest...

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  • Zandra
  • 2016-03-04

Thank you Melissa !!!

I just finished listening to Melissa's stories of Joan- from growing up to their work on the red carpet and E!
While Joan herself is so sorely missed in this world, and irreplaceable, we are all so fortunate to have her only daughter here to continue her legacy and to continue sharing Joan stories!
Melissa, you did amazing work putting this book together. I loved it! Thank you for being so equally generous with your story as well as your mother's.
Thank you Melissa!!
-Zandra Badillo
P.S. How was my grammar?? LOL

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  • Debbie Rooney
  • 2016-02-25

Thoroughly enjoyed this book

This book was chosen for our book club and what a great choice it was. I really liked how it was written in vignette form and Melissa delivered her message perfectly. I'd recommend this book to everyone.

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  • valentina
  • 2016-01-06

Love it

The audiobook is amazing! I enjoy all the time. The development of the book is great and the end is very educated!