SUPREME BEING SO BAD IT'S GOOD, DIANA ROSS' AUTOBIOGRAPHY,'SECRETS OF A SPARROW,' IS DESTINED TO BECOME A CAMP CLASSIC.
The answer is no. Diana Ross does not use her autobiography toscratch Mary Wilson’s eyes out. ”I have forgiven Mary,” declares ourMiss Ross, responding to Wilson’s 1987 Diana-dissing tell-all,Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme. But look! There between the lines! Asleek, red-enameled talon slicing quietly into the page and acrossWilson’s throat! ”She loved to wiggle her hips, bat her eyes at themen in the front row,” writes Ross, ”and give off a ‘come and get me’attitude.” Then later, just as subtle and innocent as can be: ”Itseemed as if Mary used to meet a lot of great guys.”Bully for Diana Ross. For she deserves her turn after sufferingseveral literary lashings-including two books by Wilson; another, AllThat Glittered: My Life With the Supremes, by former groupie TonyTurner; and the unauthorized Call Her Miss Ross, by author-literaryhit man J. Randy Taraborrelli. Somebody should just go ahead andlease billboard space to people who want to call Diana Ross a bitch.But Secrets of a Sparrow (Villard, $22)-the name comes from aspiritual her mother sang-won’t solve her image problems. Not sinceJoan Crawford discussed gloves and caviar in her 1971 My Way of Lifehas a star inadvertently portrayed herself as so deeply shallow,pretentious, self-involved, and, I hate to say it, stupid. ”I am anidea person in every area: films, stories, how things should look,”she tells us. ”It’s another of my God-given gifts.”Written by her alone, the book is a gassy, mind-numbing affair.Ross vaguely and grandly blah-blahs about growing up in Detroit’sBrewster housing project, forming the Supremes, dumping the Supremes,carrying on with Motown founder Berry Gordy, snaring two husbands,and raising five children. And then there’s poetry. Oh, God, thepoetry: ”I am at peace/I am a Sparrow/I am Diana/ I am woman.”Secrets of a Sparrow will become, I predict, an instant campclassic. Quite < a feat, considering it took Ross 30 years in showbiz(59 albums, 3 movies, 1 Oscar nomination) to reach the same status.There's only one way to read it- with friends, aloud. On herrained-out 1983 Central Park concert: ''Rain and woman were one,'' shewrites, and she's serious. ''Now I was a rain woman.'' On the pathetic,circuslike funeral of Flo Ballard, the tragic Supreme: ''I was in alot of emotional pain, but for a short time I tried to take charge.''On her second husband, industrialist Arne Naess: ''After the wedding,we went on a honeymoon to Tahiti; Arne owns an island near there.It's very small but completely private, and we were like Adam andEve, running around naked.''There are those who will call her chicken because she doesn'tdiscuss the racial and social implications of her marriages to whitemen. And some will call the book trivial. But I wouldn't have it anyother way. Like its subject, the book is all gloss, color pictures,and shiny surfaces, fitting since Ross is frequently cloned by dragqueens-and was once photographed in a fur coat and big movie-starsunglasses delicately chippinga chunk off the recently fallen Berlin Wall. In one chapter, shegets all painted up and dances with Kenya's Samburu tribe. And whatdoes she remember about the experience? ''There were so many shawlsand fabrics and other materials that were absolutely fabulous.''Dancing in the African wilds with Diana Ross: It's like visiting aPolish slum with Liberace. C-