Picks and Pans Review: The I Hate Madonna Handbook

UPDATED 05/23/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/23/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Rene Rosenzweig

Madonna's recent cuss fest opposite David Letterman came too late to be included in this amusing send-up, but it confirms the author's premise: The Material Girl is out of material. In this pastiche of previously published interviews, reviews and gossip items, Rosenzweig sets out to make the ultimate case for Madonna's "success of style over substance and marketing skill over talent."

An editor at the Jewish newspaper Forward who calls herself a former fan, Rosenzweig contends that Madonna is really just "a housefly" and that "this book is a swat that aims to put her ceaseless buzz to rest."

The author's extermination efforts start with a list of colleagues whom Madonna has used and discarded (gal pal Sandra Bernhard and producer Jelly Bean Benitez, among others). Then there's a chapter documenting Madonna's wildest stunts, going back to the days when she knew how to pull them off to her advantage—like stripping down to her underwear in 1991, en route to a Truth or Dare screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

A chapter called "The Immaculate Rejection" catalogs Madonna's worst reviews and illustrates how even 10 years of critical slams have not slowed the indomitable marketeer, who shrewdly promotes her music projects with controversial videos and commercial tie-ins.

This is not a kind or evenhanded book, and yet the singer-actress shouldn't be too upset. It does, after all, deal with Madonna's favorite subject. (St. Martin's Press, $12.95)

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