I am reposting another book review. This one was originally written for Epinions.com on August 21, 2012. I reposted it on the old blog on May 4, 2014, and am posting it as/is again today, because Sarah Burge’s infamous and embarrassing turn on Anderson Cooper came up this morning over breakfast.
Today’s review is dedicated to Epinions’ own vicfar, an Italian American who thinks America is full of “weird-o-rama” people. (I remember Vic got terribly offended when I referred to him as “Italian American”, even though he is both Italian and an American citizen. He doesn’t like being compared to the so-called “guido” stereotypes, I guess.)
A few weeks ago, I happened to catch an episode of Dr. Phil, a pop psychologist whose television show is kind of like a trainwreck. When I watch Phil McGraw, I often end up yelling at the TV. However, sometimes watching Dr. Phil is good for book recommendations, especially since I really enjoy reading about people who have “issues”. And Sarah Burge, who along with Derek Clements authored the book, The Half a Million Pound Girl (2011), certainly qualifies as a person with “issues”. I have Dr. Phil to thank for introducing me to Burge’s story, which sort of defines the term “charlie foxtrot”. If you have any ties to the military, I probably don’t have to define what “charlie foxtrot” means. Since it’s a somewhat profane euphemism, I’ll leave it up to your imagination if you don’t know.
Who is Sarah Burge?
Sarah Burge is a British woman has had lots of cosmetic surgery done. She is also the sister of the late actor, Trevor Goddard, who had a role on the hit television show, JAG. Burge was born with ears that stuck out, a defect she had always been ashamed of. So, since her childhood, she had always wanted plastic surgery.
Burge is also a victim of domestic violence, which was perpetrated at the hands of a man who beat and raped her. The man beat her so badly that she needed plastic surgery to repair all the damage he did to her face. Oddly enough, Burge later married this man and bore his daughter, her second child of three by three different men. She claims she hated him, yet she still married him. And now their daughter, Hannah, also apparently hates him.
Burge claims that the surgery done after the attack, courtesy of Britain’s National Health Service, wasn’t to her standards; so she visited one of London’s best private plastic surgeons. Since then, Sarah Burge has made a career out of being “a human Barbie”. Over the past 20 years, she has had over 100 cosmetic procedures done, many of which were free of charge, as she has served as free advertising for certain British plastic surgeons. Burge claims that the work she has had done is worth about a half a million British pounds, hence the title of her book. Burge also serves as a consultant to people who want to have surgery done. She claims that she is able to point them toward the best person to do the job, as it were, for the money they are able to spend. Her services are free to those looking for surgery; if they actually follow through and get procedures done, the surgeons supposedly give Burge kickbacks.
Besides showing up on Dr. Phil, Burge has also been on Anderson Cooper. On a show that aired May 22, 2012, Cooper allegedly told Burge “I try to be really polite to all my guests. I think you’re dreadful and I honestly don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Burge responded by leaving the set. Burge also made headlines in 2010 because she taught her then six year old daughter, Poppy, how to pole dance. This year, Burge made headlines for offering the same daughter, now eight, $11,000 worth of plastic surgery for her birthday.
If you’re looking for a “weird-o-rama” story, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a weirder subject to read about than Sarah Burge. I found her story, which is written in a conversational first person voice, to be alternately shocking and sickening. She comes across as “barking mad”, as well as more than a bit narcissistic… one of those people who is superficially pleasant and charming, but underneath is entirely fake.
I get the sense that Sarah Burge must have suffered some very severe traumas that have forced her to try to become someone else. While I could probably muster some pity for her if she weren’t a mother of three, I have to admit that I’m somewhat horrifed for her daughters. Really, I try to keep an open mind when it comes to people raising their children, but because I am the second wife of someone who was previously married to a nutcase, I have to admit to being biased when I see parents who treat their children like moldable extensions of themselves.
I was truly disgusted to read about how Sarah Burge was raped and beaten to a pulp by her second husband and then chose to marry the man and have his baby. She later proudly proclaims that her daughter, Hannah, has disowned her father. While Hannah’s decision is certainly understandable, I can’t wrap my head around why Sarah Burge chose to make a man she claims is a brutal monster the biological father of the child she claims to love. Seems to me that if you really love your children, you make a concerted effort to find both the best partner for yourself and the best co-parent for them, and then allow that person to be involved in the child’s life. But anyway, Sarah Burge apparently isn’t concerned about the quality of at least one of her children’s fathers. Sadly, her daughter has had to pay for it. Burge has said that most men are not able to keep up with her, but I guess being a rapist and a brute is still, in some way, a turn on for her.
Aside from my shock and dismay over Sarah Burge’s life story, I will admit that The Half a Million Pound Girl is quite readable and, in some ways, even kind of fascinating in a grotesque way. I think Derek Clements did a good job ghost writing this book. And, to vicfar, I’d also like to point out that Sarah Burge is a Briton, not an American.
I’m not sure if I would like Sarah Burge as a person, but I will admit her story is interesting in a trainwreck/tabloid sort of way. If you like weird-o-rama stories as much as I do, you might enjoy The Half a Million Pound Girl, though I really think all the time and money Sarah Burge has spent on plastic surgery probably would have been more wisely spent on psychotherapy. As one commenter wrote on an article about Burge, she is quite “whore-ifying”…
And here’s her clip on Anderson Cooper. Anderson always strikes me as pleasant, fair, and polite, but he’d had enough of Sarah Burge and kicked her off his show!
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