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Books Written By Bette Midler

A View From A Broad (1980)

Chicago Sun-Times
Rick Kogan

I've just finished the advance copy Bette Midler sent me of her book, "A View From A Broad" (Simon and Schuster, $12.50), and it's as outrageous, bawdy, touching and star-spangled as she is. It's a compilation of notes from her recent world tour-"my monumental schlep," she calls it-that seem to have been unearthed from a steno pad covered with gravy stains.

The writing is part Nanette the Bag Lady (gay baths, Hawaiian escapades with the armed forces), part Ayn Rand ("The audiences in Germany tended to come in irons of every imaginable va riety from metal-studded chokers to handcuffs…I thought I was about to perform for a chain-link fence"). They said she was crazy, her fans too weird, her music like electric-shock treat ments for the Thorazine set.

They said she'd never make it. But she did, from her first onstage entrance as a "giant hot dog, dripping with mustard" to her Oscar-touted movie "The Rose." How she did it-and how she's managed to flip out without flopping-is part of the story. In one of her few less bombastic moments she says ruefully, "I don't give a damn about being misrepresented or misquoted, but I will not be made to sound boring to the thousands that are convinced I am, if not Jackie 0, well, certainly the next best thing."

She's an original, and so is her book.

Entertainment Weekly

* VIEW FROM A BROAD (1980) With this memoir of her 1979 world tour through England, France, Germany, and Australia (her "monumental schlepp"), Midler proves herself as innovative a writer as she is a performer. Her most inspired words are the imaginary headlines she prints when she recounts her many brushes with death, each with the subhead, "Began Career at Continental Baths." A

The Saga of Baby Divine (1982)

The Boston Globe
Winnie Bonelli
Staff Writer

Babies normally come in two varieties complete with all the standard physical equipment. If the infant, however, happens to be the alter ego of singer Bette Midler you can bet there are going to be a few unique options, such as teeny-tiny high heels, henna-rinsed hair and a penchant for uttering the world "MORE."

At a time when celebrities are cashing in on bulging biceps and trimmed derrieres to teach the American public how to shed any resemblance of baby-fat baggage, Midler instead resorts to a Kewpie doll cherub to spread a cerebral message of acceptance, understanding and love.

At first glance, Midler's newly published "The Saga of Baby Divine" (Crown $11.95) appears skillfully disguised as a children's book complemented by the vividly colored illustrations of Todd Schoor. On deeper examination, a very grownup fable emerges with philosophical "truths" served up in palpable proportions.

From the onset, the reader known this is no ordinary human as Midler describes the astrological events surrounding Baby Divine's birth: "Comet appeared And those who dared peek Say Stars fell to Earth in a Panic Historians claim that the Cosmos Eclipsed The Excesses of Darryl F. Zanuck!"

While we know this kid has definite possibilities, Mr. and Mrs. Divine find it hard going breaking the mode of their "most circumspect lives." Father decides his daughter is a "quack" and Mother must admit that she's "trashy."

Baby overhears this exchange and fig ures it's time to split. Everyone knows that new babies can't crawl, much less walk, but this is one agile infant who takes to her toes with a wild pirouette right out the front door. Her destination is to track down three equally flamboyant spirits in the bodies of her three godmothers -- Lily, Tillie and Joyce. There are an abundance of symbolic encounters from the white rose planted by" her mother in the spring to the cigar chomping bird, who enables Baby Divine to soar to celestial heights and learn the first "Truth:" "It's the point of Your View that Decides What You See One Man's Flop Is Another Man's Hits, From Manners to Movies, the Picture Keeps Changing Depending Upon Where You Sit." Don't expect any sinister witches or ogre, instead the formidable villain of this tale is the all-too-familiar monster named Anxiety. But the frog-voice, fog-wrapped ~ fiend comes up with some pretty stiff defenses - the hearty sound of laughter aught by the trio of irresponsible dames, Lily, Tillie and Joyce, who coincidentally boast musical skills.

It seems a crime to let this talent go , unsung and you can be sure Baby Diviner gets into the act, especially with her one- word vocabulary that reflects Midler's perpetual quest for MORE, MORE, MORE. The same exhilarated "exuberance" that surrounds Midler's concerts and movies is transcended into her verses, which at times are more than a little autobiographical.

Dr. Seuss doesn't have to stay awake nights worrying about being tumbled from the throne as the dean of children's books by this precocious child. Rather, one thing seems certain, "The Saga of Baby Divine," with its references to Einstein, Kant and Descartes, is going to be turning up on many adult coffee tables this season. And hopefully, we can look forward to a sequel because this is one babe-in-arms that deserves a return visit.

Entertainment Weekly

THE SAGA OF BABY DIVINE (1983) Under the cover of this lavishly illustrated best-selling children's book, Midler tells in verse what is presumably her own story-Baby Divine enters the world with henna-red hair and high heels, crying "More," dances out of her cradle, wrestles with the monster Anxiety, and learns to love life. A