From Publishers Weekly
At age 10, O'Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history for her performance in Paper Moon
. In this honest, disturbing memoir, O'Neal, now 41, reveals the behind-the-scenes story of her lonely, chaotic life—one dominated by struggles with drugs and damaging relationships. O'Neal portrays her divorced parents (actors Joanna Moore and Ryan O'Neal) as neglectful and abusive, with drug problems of their own. Though O'Neal appeared in such kid-fodder movies as The Bad News Bears
and Little Darlings
, she says that during the '70s and early '80s she battled depression and attempted suicide. "I found that coke made me feel so much better," she recounts in the straightforward though unoriginal language that characterizes the narrative. Much of the book's second half covers her fraught marriage to volatile tennis champ John McEnroe; these passages alternate between recollections of the pleasure of being in love and having children and the pain of living with McEnroe, whom she depicts as controlling and demeaning. Ten years and three children later, O'Neal and McEnroe divorced. She resumed using drugs, fought child custody battles and watched her mother die of cancer. Although O'Neal speeds through the details, she addresses her addictions: "I wanted to take my own life but... instead... I started doing drugs 24/7. I couldn't stop." She also zips through her recovery, abruptly claiming "rebirth" in the final chapter. Writing this memoir seems to have been cathartic for O'Neal. Perhaps reading it will provide inspiration to other abuse victims and addicts.
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“A Paper Life, her slash-and-burn family album about…oh, go read it. You know you want to.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times )
“I know memoirs are always described as ‘explosive,’ but this one really is.” (Liz Smith )
“In her red-hot tome, O’Neal dishes on the...Hollywood of the 1970s - in all its raunchiness.” (Daily News )
“If an Academy Award were handed out for the most scorching family drama, it could certainly go to Tatum O’Neal...” (USA Today )
“In her bombshell autobiography...Tatum O’Neal...names names...while telling, for the first time, an eye-popping story...” (People )
“Forget ‘Mommie Dearest;’...it looks as if Tatum O’Neal’s A PAPER LIFE...might be the new classic. (Philadelphia Inquirer )
“In this honest, disturbing memoir, O’Neal...reveals the behind-the-scenes story of her lonely, chaotic life... (Publishers Weekly )