NEW YORK — Melissa Rivers wanted to laugh – and she wants her readers to do the same.

Mission accomplished on both counts, thanks to her best-selling memoir, “The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation” (Crown Archetype). It’s a touching, revealing and above all funny paean to her mother, Joan Rivers, who died last September at 81 after complications from minor throat surgery.

The book is free of a daughter’s grief, or her undeniable anger. (Rivers has filed a malpractice lawsuit.) Instead, the approach is light-hearted, affectionate – and funny.

“We wanted to call the book ‘Cheaper Than Therapy,’ but we were afraid it would get mixed up in the Self-Help Therapy section of the bookstore,” the younger Rivers said.

In the first pages, Rivers attempts to summarize this pint-sized, outspoken force of nature: “My mother was a comedian, actress, writer, producer, jewelry monger, tchotchke maker, spokesperson, hand model, ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ winner and a self-appointed somewhat-goodwill-ambassador to 27 Third World countries that were unaware they had a goodwill ambassador.”

Yes, there was a method to Joan’s madness, but it formed the logical roots of someone who didn’t cater to logic.

Joan on marriage: “Your father didn’t care if I went to bed mad. He cared if I went to Bergdorf mad.”

Joan on cosmetic surgery: “Better to have a new you coming out of an old car than an old you coming out of a new car.”


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