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Book Review: Brangelina by Ian Halperin

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Celebrity gossip has become the very currency of modern life. As an avowed pseudo-intellectual, I have always pretended to be above it. The ruse was never true, of course, but somehow the pose made me feel better. There was something about the Brad Pitt/ Angelina Jolie scandal however that forced me out of the closet. If nothing else, it was a fabulous script, containing all the elements of a Greek tragedy.

All American movie star hero Brad Pitt married apple-pie sweet Jennifer Aniston, only to be lured away by the demonic Angelina Jolie. How can you resist?

Ian Halperin’s Brangelina tells the sordid tale of these Hollywood titans in a fairly straightforward manner. As befits the star of this story, Angelina Jolie’s life is delved into the deepest. Her public persona has evolved so rapidly over the past 12 years that a person needs a scorecard to keep up.

Halperin thoughtfully provides one. From her beginning as the struggling daughter of actor Jon Voight, through her roles as a proudly bi-sexual young lady, to her creepy kisses with her brother, and then as ravenous wife of Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie kept the tabloids busy. Her recent appearances as adoptive Octo-mom and powerhouse home wrecker have just been her latest incarnations.

Angelic Aniston is presented in a somewhat different light. Like Jolie, Aniston hails from a show-business family. Although Aniston’s father never enjoyed the type of success Mr. Voight has, she has spent her whole life exposed to the ways of Hollywood.

Brad Pitt really did grow up as the proverbial All American. He was raised in a small town, was active and popular in school, and attended college. Afterward, he followed his gut and decided to take a shot at the movies. After his breakout performance in Thelma And Louise, he was suddenly the most eligible bachelor in town.

Brangelina is exactly what it purports to be: a good, old-fashioned dish of dirt. Halperin even goes so far as to infiltrate an underground sibling-relationship support group, where brother and sister couplings are celebrated. This was in his “investigation” of Angelina and her brother James’ celebrated public displays of affection. The whole thing was pretty creepy, to be honest. But his assertion that her ridiculous actions with Billy Bob Thornton were specifically designed to take the heat off the incest rumors actually rings uncomfortably true.

If ever there were a book designed to read on the beach in summer, Brangelina is it. As shallow as a mud puddle, Brangelina is fluff of the highest order. I actually quite enjoyed wallowing in the muck with Halperin’s book; I did need a shower after finishing it, though.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • Carrie

    Ian Halperin is a hack, A fraud, and a proven liar. 99% of the book is made up nonsense.

  • Stavros

    So you read the book Carrie? You brangeloonies are so funny.

  • strez

    So if it not true Carrie then prove otherwise

  • AmyWinelake

    Unfortunately I have read the book. Most of the timelines are incorrect which doesnt give me any faith that the rest of the book is accurate either.

  • Troi

    Halperin says he had 900 sources, yet the book offers very little new information to the fan or not-fan of the couple. Halperin relies mainly on innuendo and gossip without factually proving much of anything. He rarely quotes an actual source by name, there are no foot notes, bibliography etc. Not what one would expect from a legitimate writer.

  • Critical reader

    As one who is reasonably familiar with the subject matter and one who has read the book, I found no time lines that were incorrect. Can Amy Winelake tell me which ones she found and I’ll go back and double check? I know that there are some reviews out there that incorrectly state what was in the book which leads me to believe that half the people who “reviewed” it didn’t actually read it. That’s a little dishonest to say the least.

  • Greg Barbrick

    Critical reader:

    As the author of this review, I can verify that I read every page, and agree with you that the timelines make sense.

    A lot of the feedback I have seen seems to be directed at Halperin himself. Whether this is justifiable or not is beside the point. I found no reason to dismiss what he reported, and his opinions are just that: opinions.

    –Greg

  • ianhalperin

    There are a group of people like “Carrie” who are spreading a hate campaign against me. My lawyers are tracking their IP addresses. Can’t wait till “Carrie” tries to back up “fraud” claims etc… before a judge. I stand by every word I write.

  • sara

    I’ve seen a critical reference to the wrong date of the oldest bio child’s birth–2006 versus 2009, the true date. Could someone verify that is either a misprint or faulty reporting? There does seem to be a quite vicious campaign against all of Mr. Halpern’s books, even though he has unearthed enticing and plausible information at times.

    Subjects of celebrity bios are not inclined to be quoted directly in print because of a little annoyance called libel and slander law and the huge messes that frivolous suits can generate for those who go on record.

  • sara

    I’ve seen a critical reference to the wrong date of the oldest bio child’s birth–2006 versus 2009, the true date. Could someone verify that is either a misprint or faulty reporting? There does seem to be a quite vicious campaign against all of Mr. Halpern’s books, even though he has unearthed enticing and plausible information at times.

    Subjects of celebrity bios are not inclined to be quoted directly in print because of a little annoyance called libel and slander law and the huge messes that frivolous suits can generate for those who go on record.

  • sara

    Oops, mistakes in my post. The bio daughter was born in 2008, I think, and the snarky comments about this book seem to focus on an incorrect date of birth for her and lack of attribution for many sources. This is celebrity dirt, not scholarship. Anyone close enough to provide info about people like this would be foolish to be quoted by name or for attribution.

  • Rii

    Oh please…”summer read” really? Why not tell people to read a newspaper or a novel written by a “TRUE” author. Whatever…

  • Go Away B-List Celebrity Posters

    Carrie Fisher.

    Is that you?

    Surrender the Stink

  • Pepitaa

    If the book is all lies then why hasn’t a lawsuit been filed against the author?
    HHHMMM

  • joanne

    I read the book and agree it’s a good summer read. It does sound uncomfortably true and the book matches the pictues she is hoing out now. Everyone looks unhappy but her, she is smiling at the camera.

  • jan

    I didn’t read anything especially new and different.

  • Cherie

    There is a good reason why this book has bombed. This book is pure trash (and yes, I read it). There is nothing in this book that hasn’t been covered in tabloids. And practically everything is attributed to sources. Ooh, like those are so accurate.

    I’m also laughing at the fact that a post attributed to Ian Halperin shows up here. There’s a campaign against him? And he’s tracking IP’s? Oh please, this guy is a moron.

    Give it up, Ian. Your book bombed. And it’s not because people don’t want to read about Brad and Angie. It’s because people know that you are nothing more than a frustrated tabloid writer.

  • J. McKenna

    I noticed when I read the book that it lacked any corroboration or attributions for any of the facts or quotes. I kept looking for something that would prove even one of his allegations and there was nothing. I have never seen that in a serious biography or factual book. All Halperin seems to do is repeat tabloid gossip and extrapolate it from there into rather lurid and baseless stories. The only time you see a quote is when he rather shamelessly lifts quotes from other biographies or authors’ works.

    I cannot even understand how a serious review of this book can neglect to cite the lack of verification for all the salacious stories in the book.

    No one with any understanding of or experience in journalism or journalistic intergrity would give this book a second glance. I personally would love to see Ian Halperin in a court of law because it is he who would have to back up his claims. I hope he understands that “anonymous sources” don’t hold up in court. He would have to produce the sources and they would have to take the stand and swear under oath as to what, where and when they told him these so called “facts.”

    Unfortunately for Mr. Halperin the last time he was required to do that in a court case, his “sources” denied his stories and he was charged with perjury by the Canadian government. Perhaps Mr. Halperin would like to explain that very telling history which should alert every reader why he cannot be trusted. Yet that is exactly what his books demands of the reader – just trust me an ddon’t ask for verification.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    There’s a rumor floating around that this Barbick fellow lost a woman to a Brad Pitt impersonator, which isn’t surprising looking at his mug.

    I can’t confirm or deny it, but it may help explain his bias in favor of the book that J. McKenna refers to.

  • Greg Barbrick

    Very funny Mr. Bicho, but sadly oh so true…At least it wasn’t as bad as The Rockologist’s experience with Al Stewart.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Sad experiences sometimes make for great stories though. And that one still has legs some thirty years later….

    -Glen

  • peacemaker

    I heard your interview, all I can say, it’s all your own opinion, comfilling stories from written, interviews,gossip column in the tabs. Crepy kiss, for people with dirty mind, as what his brother James had said, you have problem not them. AJ respect his brother, who acted as a father, big brother,friend and her mentor in her life. After their father left them with another woman. Most broken family, the kids suffer emotionaly. We got a lot of them in Hollywood and outside. Some are strong and some are weak. About her affection in public, there is nothing wrong with that, it’s her husband. we got a lot in public doing the same thing,some teens having sex, with BF, out of marriage. Are they a shallow as a mud puddle too? or shall we say unclean, including straight,gay,lesbian,which your not exempted. Then no one will be save. Truly a love affair of anybody,is none of our business, and we are invading their private life. Biography need a written permission. Then yours is just your own judgement.