Erica Kornberg
May 13, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Her book (Sex) was an embarrassment. Her movies are expected to bomb. Her recent appearance on David Letterman’s show was pathetic. Now that Madonna’s career seems a shadow of its former self, is it still fun to pick on her? Absolutely. This clever, nasty, well-researched potshot at the Queen of Pomp is part entertainment and part earnest attempt to put an end to her raunchy reign once and for all. Brilliantly vituperative chapters include ”Desperately Seeking Stardom,” in which Madonna’s ex-managers and lovers are issued one to five go- go-boot, whip, or teardrop symbols to indicate how much she abused them; ”Justify My Love Life,” offering fact-filled Madonna Lover Trading Cards, and ”The Madonna Hall of Shamelessness,” which showcases her shrewd but heartless career moves. But, interestingly, rather than killing off the Material Woman, The I Hate Madonna Handbook displays her truly uncanny powers of manipulation. Translation: Don’t count her out—not just yet.

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