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Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography of Martha Stewart

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Based on some four hundred exclusive, candid interviews with family members, confidantes, colleagues, and present and former friends and associates, this scrupulously researched investigative biography tells for the first time the real story of Martha Stewart's personal life, and her phenomenal rise to the top. Martha Stewart - Just Desserts reveals the secrets of Stewart' Based on some four hundred exclusive, candid interviews with family members, confidantes, colleagues, and present and former friends and associates, this scrupulously researched investigative biography tells for the first time the real story of Martha Stewart's personal life, and her phenomenal rise to the top. Martha Stewart - Just Desserts reveals the secrets of Stewart's disturbing childhood, her tempestuous marriage and ugly divorce, and her Mommy Dearest relationship with her only child. Oppenheimer recounts a classic Cinderella tale of the transformation of a poor Polish-American girl in Nutley, New Jersey, to Glamour magazine model, to Wall Street stockbroker, to chic Connecticut caterer, to bestselling author and television star, to powerful head of a multimedia conglomerate, to belle of America's A-list glitterati ball. And it is all described in fascinating, juicy detail by the people who helped her - and by those she stepped on along the way. This is an intriguing, explosive tale that will surprise and shock even the most ardent Martha Stewart fans. Whether you love Martha Stewart or loathe her, you will be amazed by the stunning revelations in this book. Martha Stewart - Just Desserts shatters the myth of the Perfect Martha once and for all - and that's good thing.


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Based on some four hundred exclusive, candid interviews with family members, confidantes, colleagues, and present and former friends and associates, this scrupulously researched investigative biography tells for the first time the real story of Martha Stewart's personal life, and her phenomenal rise to the top. Martha Stewart - Just Desserts reveals the secrets of Stewart' Based on some four hundred exclusive, candid interviews with family members, confidantes, colleagues, and present and former friends and associates, this scrupulously researched investigative biography tells for the first time the real story of Martha Stewart's personal life, and her phenomenal rise to the top. Martha Stewart - Just Desserts reveals the secrets of Stewart's disturbing childhood, her tempestuous marriage and ugly divorce, and her Mommy Dearest relationship with her only child. Oppenheimer recounts a classic Cinderella tale of the transformation of a poor Polish-American girl in Nutley, New Jersey, to Glamour magazine model, to Wall Street stockbroker, to chic Connecticut caterer, to bestselling author and television star, to powerful head of a multimedia conglomerate, to belle of America's A-list glitterati ball. And it is all described in fascinating, juicy detail by the people who helped her - and by those she stepped on along the way. This is an intriguing, explosive tale that will surprise and shock even the most ardent Martha Stewart fans. Whether you love Martha Stewart or loathe her, you will be amazed by the stunning revelations in this book. Martha Stewart - Just Desserts shatters the myth of the Perfect Martha once and for all - and that's good thing.

30 review for Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography of Martha Stewart

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karli

    Okay I must confess, I never finished it. I tried, I really did. This book is a job. I think Martha could have been Mother Theresa and this guy would have found a way to make that negative. Not worth the paper it's printed on.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Makoto

    a nice look into the ocd, detailed obssessed life of martha stewart, aka, Martha Helen Kostyra. some fantastic fotos of her and her crazy daughter in the 80's- they were dating the same older man at the same time, supposedly... you know, the guy who gave martha that lame investment advice....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    I was tremendously surprised at my reaction to this book. It had the exact opposite effect of what I believe the author intended. The more he bad mouthed Martha, the more I began to admire her. She truly has made something of herself and she is now an American icon. I really did not like her prior to reading this book and thought of her as a punchline to many jokes. But, this author showed me there was much to admire about her.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I picked this up at a used bookstore, not from any feelings about Martha Stewart one way or the other, but because it's fascinating to me how someone (especially a woman who comes from working class roots) achieves success and power. I have never watched one of her shows or read one of her books. While she was teaching women how to be all la di da in the eighties and nineties, I was doing the ordinary, down to earth homemaking, cooking, baking, decorating and raising kids in my own way. I never I picked this up at a used bookstore, not from any feelings about Martha Stewart one way or the other, but because it's fascinating to me how someone (especially a woman who comes from working class roots) achieves success and power. I have never watched one of her shows or read one of her books. While she was teaching women how to be all la di da in the eighties and nineties, I was doing the ordinary, down to earth homemaking, cooking, baking, decorating and raising kids in my own way. I never found Martha's over the top ways at all appealing, so just tuned her out. When she went to prison over insider trading, I felt like she had been picked on for being a woman. But after reading this biography using countless interviews and quotes from people close to her, I am thinking she did okay for someone who has made her fortune through cheating others, lying, breaking contracts, intimidating and abusing employees, and all the other stuff that apparently went on behind the pretty, smiling face. I gave it only 3 stars because altho it was a juicy read, it was just too much. I got so tired of hearing about this woman. What a sicko. What a con artist. I am sure she deserved much more than her year in white-collar prison, and I'm convinced that anything bad that happens to her in the twilight years of her life (she turned 70 this year) will not even be close to the punishment that she deserves. By the time I was done with this book I kept thinking of another one on my to-read list -- The Sociopath Next Door.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I read this years ago before her financial scandal was public and found it very enlightening. It was amazing to me the number of people who knew her well that were willing to go on the record with their statements and observations. This shows that the "lifestyle" that she promotes is, after all, just an image created to make her money and the rest of us feel guilty for not having the time to make all of our napkins by hand or create elaborate centerpieces for dinner parties. Don't get me wrong, I read this years ago before her financial scandal was public and found it very enlightening. It was amazing to me the number of people who knew her well that were willing to go on the record with their statements and observations. This shows that the "lifestyle" that she promotes is, after all, just an image created to make her money and the rest of us feel guilty for not having the time to make all of our napkins by hand or create elaborate centerpieces for dinner parties. Don't get me wrong, I am for doing everything possible to create a home full of beauty, but there is more that goes into making a beautiful home than aesthetics and that is evidently not something about which Martha Stewart has a clue. After reading this, I decided to make sure not to put another dime in her pocket and to this day I refuse to buy anything with her name on it. All her energy went into creating an empire with her name on it with not a kind word or deed left for friends, family or co-workers. Shameful!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I don't know if I will ever finish this book, and not because it isn't interesting, but just because I have so many more important books to read... I love Martha Stewart for her empire of ideas, but I just don't care enough about her personal life to immerse myself in it. Sigh. Maybe one of these days...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    WOW, this is a very well written book. It was just all so fascinating, I couldn't put it down. Read it in one weekend. It gives insight into what makes a person like Martha tick, and how she is so driven, to the point of practically wrecking herself and everyone around her.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Vicious and mean spirited. I don't like Martha Stewart, but I don't think it's right to skewer her like this. I'd like to know where this author got her sources and how reliable they are.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julie Suzanne

    Aunt Nancy shared this with me--a fun read--felt gossipy and voyeuristic. Stewart was portrayed as a character you just love to hate.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Read this book YEARS ago and it is a page-turner for sure! Oppenheimer's many sources give us a glimpse of the real, behind-the-scenes story of Martha's rise to the top. Even after learning about this "other" side of Martha, fans of the Stewart empire likely won't be swayed. This mogul -- hate her or love her -- is a ruthless person but that doesn't stop me from enjoying her magazines and shows. Plus, she likes French Bulldogs and that's good enough for me. :) My favorite story in this book is a Read this book YEARS ago and it is a page-turner for sure! Oppenheimer's many sources give us a glimpse of the real, behind-the-scenes story of Martha's rise to the top. Even after learning about this "other" side of Martha, fans of the Stewart empire likely won't be swayed. This mogul -- hate her or love her -- is a ruthless person but that doesn't stop me from enjoying her magazines and shows. Plus, she likes French Bulldogs and that's good enough for me. :) My favorite story in this book is a tale of how K-Mart struck and awesome deal to get her signed on to be their spokesperson.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    She's mean, that's for sure. See dreadful Alexis as exhibit A of her terrible interpersonal skills. The main problem I have with this, which also comes up in the Anna Wintour bio, is the idea that Martha is plagiarizing and outsourcing her way to the top. Give Martha and Anna some credit. They are obviously smart, creative businesswomen who simply could not stay at the top of their games for so long if they didn't have the skills and ideas to stay there.

  12. 5 out of 5

    H

    Incredibly interesting and not at all surprising - MS is stone cold, even if only a small fraction of the info in this book is true. The only thing I didn't like was the negativity toward MS for what I felt should have been non-issues - dressing more provocatively and being more flirtatious after her divorce, for example. Items in the realm of normal human behaviour should have been portrayed with a far more neutral lens.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Josephine

    This biography's pretty firmly in the anti-Martha camp....but that's clear from some of the other reviews. Is it true? I don't know. Certainly the basics are there: job history, divorce, family background. But I'm left with the question: if she were a man, would she be perceived so negatively?

  14. 5 out of 5

    M

    She is mean and sick.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    A great read. Martha Stewart's unauthorized biography brought out her real persona. This book brings understanding into how our poor back ground can play a role in driving us beyond our own paradigms and in the process we can get lost our selves. Coming from a poor Polish family and with an intelligent father who did not make it in life she made it her goal to succeed where her father failed. Things did fall into place for her as she married into a wall street family for starters and her husband A great read. Martha Stewart's unauthorized biography brought out her real persona. This book brings understanding into how our poor back ground can play a role in driving us beyond our own paradigms and in the process we can get lost our selves. Coming from a poor Polish family and with an intelligent father who did not make it in life she made it her goal to succeed where her father failed. Things did fall into place for her as she married into a wall street family for starters and her husband being a lawyer by profession. The beginning was shaky at first but with her determination coupled with her hard work her business started to line up well with investors and she did score big. In her heightened self image Martha kept pushing for more at the expense of her friends and family. She projects herself as a home maker and a food specialist an image that sells books and magazines which made her a celebrity and a sought after symbol in these areas in the business world. Unknown to many fans and Martha wannabes though was the fact that her private life was falling apart. Martha's aggressive pursuits in life took a toll as she was abandoned by her friends and by her husband of 25 years.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Arlene

    Okay...we all want to know the dirt on Miss Martha the Perfect. I have always been fascinated by this paragon of the home who speaks in a flat affect.( Nursing Notes 101) So when I found this book on a discount table, I had to have it. I was not surprised to find that Martha has always been one to size people up and use them for her own gain. She just does not seem to relate to people in a normal way. She has always seemed more in tune to her animals than humans. At the end of the book I found m Okay...we all want to know the dirt on Miss Martha the Perfect. I have always been fascinated by this paragon of the home who speaks in a flat affect.( Nursing Notes 101) So when I found this book on a discount table, I had to have it. I was not surprised to find that Martha has always been one to size people up and use them for her own gain. She just does not seem to relate to people in a normal way. She has always seemed more in tune to her animals than humans. At the end of the book I found myself feeling sorry for Martha as she has all these beautiful homes but no one around to enjoy them with her! I think her "father" issues led to many of the insecurities that pushed her to have it all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edith

    This was interesting! Martha Stewart is one tough cookie with enough drive for several persons. No wonder it was not "authorized"... it contained some not-so-flattering behavior of Martha's. She is presented as a control freak with no patience for mistakes and slovenly work. It was entertaining reading. This was interesting! Martha Stewart is one tough cookie with enough drive for several persons. No wonder it was not "authorized"... it contained some not-so-flattering behavior of Martha's. She is presented as a control freak with no patience for mistakes and slovenly work. It was entertaining reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daedrya

    Pre-prison unauthorised bio of Martha. Gives a detailed glimpse into her driven, obsessive and perfectionist personality. If you're looking for her feet of clay they're here. Almost every page has some revelation of her less than stellar behavior. I like Martha and this book did nothing to change that.She transformed herself from Martha Kostyra, grandchild of Polish immigrants to Martha Stewart, maven of WASP good taste and lifestyle.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Yes, it's true, I can't help but love Martha & her "good things". But I also enjoyed this unauthorized bio on the woman who seems to do it all. Interesting background on her modelling, her job on the stock exchange and getting started with her domestic empire. Of course, there's lots of relationship drama thrown in for good measure. Yes, it's true, I can't help but love Martha & her "good things". But I also enjoyed this unauthorized bio on the woman who seems to do it all. Interesting background on her modelling, her job on the stock exchange and getting started with her domestic empire. Of course, there's lots of relationship drama thrown in for good measure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This book was fabulous. Even if 50% of the content of this unauthorized bio is true, it was worth the time. It painted a picture of an extremely driven and motivated woman who would pull out all the stops to succeed, regardless of the consequences or collateral damage. I'm a fan of Martha Stewart and have benefitted from her programs and magazines.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Martha, Martha, Martha. I'm thinking differently about her now that I've read this, and I've been an admirer for years. The book was published in 1997, so it stops short of prison ponchos and brand resurrection. Nevertheless, it's thorough in its research on how she became a media personality---attributes her success to devising ways to use other people's money and hard work.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I keep going between 2 and 3 stars. The juicy anecdotes started to feel the same after a while. I get it; Martha abuses people. She always has, she always will as long as you keep enabling her. Still, it was hard to put down.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    I thought it was rather interesting....how it depicted her as such a jerk, to everyone in her inner circle, including her husband and daughter. However learning all this, was interesting. I've never been like a huge Martha fan, but reading this I feel, has definately changed my perspective on her.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I just finished Martha Stewart Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography by Jerry Oppenheimer. I thought that this book was great; it is a must-read for anyone who wants to know the 'dirt' on Martha Stewart. I give it an A+!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    OH martha, you crazy b*tch..i love ya

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Don't know how much of it is true, but I loved it. Guilty pleasure.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anita Smith

    I can't stand Martha Stewart, so I really enjoyed this book. Because it was "unauthorized", it didn't exactly portray her in the best light, and it was a scandalous and fun read. :-)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    A scandalous and fascinating look at the rise of Martha Stewart. This is an unauthorized biography that is worth the read, if you are a fan (or not a fan) of Stewart's.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wilhelmina

    Excellent book if you want to learn about Martha Stewart and I learned a lot!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Marx

    Sinful read and shocking if true about the domestic queen!

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