Life With My Sister Madonna
Over the past 25 years, Madonna has inspired many, infuriated more, and ingrained herself in the public consciousness with such force of will that she’s become a favorite subject of academia. Every suggestive lyric, every bright new hairdo, every playful crotch grab is fodder for college courses, daylong seminars, even entire books by scholars looking to make a buck off arguably the most famous woman in the world.
Christopher Ciccone is not one of those scholars. He’s a great tattletale, though. Life With My Sister Madonna arrives at an inauspicious time for the 49-year-old pop star, who’s been batting away rumors of an extramarital affair with New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. For E! News fanatics and sun worshippers in need of a good beach read, it’s hard to beat.
Ciccone, who worked closely with his older sibling for years, serves some tasty morsels of madness. There are surreally humorous life-in-a-bubble moments throughout: Madonna is stranded in the Moroccan desert on her way to an early-career video shoot; Christopher spends a woozy evening sharing bumps of cocaine with Donatella Versace and Courtney Love after Gianni Versace’s New York City memorial service; Madonna, buzzing on lemon-drop cocktails, is escorted from a post-Grammy party inexplicably covered in candle wax.
Unfortunately, all this dish is counterbalanced by Ciccone’s attempts to psychoanalyze his sister, a ludicrous exercise given that she is already the most overexposed woman of her generation. He hurries through their Michigan childhood — still the least-chronicled portion of her life — in favor of too-obvious statements that will surprise nobody. Among the feeble insights: Madonna ”always has to be the best.” She is ”the world’s worst joke-teller.” She is ”not touchy-feely.” She wholeheartedly believes in her acting abilities. She’s a tightwad who once charged her college-student brother 50 cents for a joint — and decades later made him pay his own way to her 2000 Scotland wedding to Guy Ritchie. And then there’s this doozy: ”From her perspective, she is the only person in the universe.” Well, duh. C+