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Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: A Memoir Hardcover – November 6, 2012


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Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: A Memoir + Prairie Tale: A Memoir + Way I See It: A Look Back At My Life On Little House
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602861722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602861725
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Hoda Kotb, author of Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee, and co-host of the Today show
“I am always in search of the book I can’t put down.  Well, thanks to Melissa Francis, I FOUND it. I may have missed a few nights sleep, but I am so much better for it.  Her book is captivating, revealing and ultimately healing.   Who knew the kid from Little House on the Prairie had such a fascinating real-life story?  I am in awe.”

Kirkus Review
"Chilling memoir by a Fox Business Network anchor and child star chronicles the misery of growing up with a cruel, controlling and abusive stage mother. Francis' narrative grabs readers immediately. One of those intimate, heartbreaking, doubled-edged stories that is hard to read, impossible to put down."

Publisher's Weekly
"Compelling...A thoughtful trek across a troubled family landscape resulting in a bittersweet yet hopeful final act."

About the Author

A graduate of Harvard University, Melissa Francis grew up in southern California. As a broadcast journalist, she has anchored CNBC’s Power Lunch, The Call, and On The Money, served as a regular contributor to the Today show and Weekend Today Show, and currently hosts two daily business shows on the Fox Business Network. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two sons.


More About the Author

Melissa Francis, anchor of MONEY with Melissa Francis and Markets Now on the Fox Business Network, did not get her start on television in news. At the age of eight, she played Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world's most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie, working alongside 1980s icons Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Jason Bateman.

In her book Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter, Melissa recounts her life as a child star in the 1980s, a life wholly controlled by a highly neurotic and dangerously competitive "tiger mother." Now the mother of two young boys herself, Melissa reflects not only on her past but on the subject of parenthood and the impact of relentlessly driving a child to succeed, an approach that sent Melissa's sister into a deadly spiral.

"What I have learned from a difficult childhood is that, no matter what has happened in the past, you can take charge of your life and be happy. Your life is your own. In fact, a tough past is actually a richness of experience to draw upon. You know what doesn't work," says Melissa.

Melissa eventually left acting, earned a degree in Economics from Harvard University, and went on to a successful career as a broadcast journalist. Today, Melissa Francis lives in New York City with her husband and two children. She anchors two daily shows on the Fox Business Network, including Money with Melissa Francis, which covers the intersection of Wall Street and Main Street. Prior to her role at FOX Business, Melissa spent nine years at CNBC, where she anchored shows such as Power Lunch, The Call, and On the Money, and made regular contributions to the Today show and Weekend Today.

Customer Reviews

Melissa did a great job telling her heart wrenching story.
Mary Winebarger
Melissa Francis does not only talk about her relationship with her mother, but she tells very gripping stories about her sister and father as well.
nausicaa
This book is interesting, entertaining, well written and very easy to read.
Kelly Van Vleck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 115 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The child pictured on the book'ss cover looked familiar in the sense that I had seen her somewhere before, but just couldn't figure out where. After thumbing through this book, it became amply clear that this was the kid who was Cassandra Ingalls on Little House On The Prairie. I guess that was the hook for me. I plunked down some money and read this while I intermittently heard sound bytes on election night.
I was expecting a Mommie Dearest meets Gypsy sort of book, however what I got was something decidedly more disturbing which begged the question as to whether the child or the mother was the performer. Melissa Francis need not worry about being accused of exaggeration. Her mother was the stage mama horror that often is portrayed in the media, but Melissa manages to tell her story truthfully without embellishments and avoids any attempt to sensationalize the difficult situation that she, her father, and sister found themselves as her mother's outrageous behavior escalated.
In Melissa's case and that of her older sister, her mother is beyond pushy. She plays psychological games with her daughters to wear down their confidence and security. For Melissa's mother it is all artifice and status symbols such as the BMW that Melissa gets for her birthday. It is the mother who is concerned about money and image and appearances. While the mother wears down both of the kids, Melissa is essentially a survivor with the goal of escaping her mother's grasp. The sister is less lucky as she continues to recede into her cocoon without much in the way of survival skills. In the end, the mother is shown as a manipulator, thief, and fraud who is without conscience or soul.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Tina on November 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter was always at the top of my "must have" list. Why? because I love all things diary. In fact, I had no idea that this book was written by someone who had appeared on Little House on the Prairie.

By the time Little House on the Prairie was in full swing, I was just starting to work full time and really had not much interest in the show. However, over the years, I have read Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Anderson's books so this was a nice addition. Kind of interesting since I was never a huge fan - but, as I said, I could not resist the "Diary" part of this title LOL.

Having said all of this, I can honestly say that this was one of THE best memoirs (celebrity) or otherwise that I have ever read. Melissa Francis was incredibly honest, direct and always, always entertaining with her writing.

She starts off by telling us about her life as a young child and manages to balance just the right amount of information - so that it does not get bogged down in boring detail (as so many other memoirs do when it comes to the "younger' days). Additionally, Melissa does a wonderful job setting the stage (excuse the pun) for the "scenes" her mother has done and will continue to do throughout the course of this book.

It is always interesting to me to think about how you can be watching a young tv performer "do their" thing in their roles, all the while not knowing that the real drama in their lives is being played out behind the scenes and this was certainly the case with Melissa Francis.

Her descriptions of her experiences on the set are great, but what really worked were the contrasts she was living during her days on TV and her life with her mother (and the rest of her family).

I loved, loved this memoir - run to read it.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By pilates lover on November 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked this up because I recognized the face on the book, that was "Cassandra" in Little House on the Prairie. I loved that show growing up and so did my children. I also was interested in her life with a "stage mom" and how she got to be an TV anchor.

I thought she did a good job, not overloading on little details but giving you enough to understand her feelings. I had to remember it was more about her relationship with her mother and not about her TV shows, commercials, and the inner workings of them. She did touch on that, but I would have liked more, being interested in how that all comes together.
I also would have liked to hear more about her time on LHOP and other cast members that helped her during that time. I realize she might not have been quite as impressed with the show as I was, but a little more about that period in her life would have been nice for fans that remember her from that time.

I am glad she came out of her shaky relationship with her mother a stronger person, albeit some tragic events, and wish more child stars could say the same. Her honesty and candor was refreshing.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By JMK579 on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Honest and brave... you don't have to be a Little House fan or interested in the Stage Mom life to feel the genuine conflict and pain in Melissa's breaking free.

I read this yesterday afternoon and it would make a great book club book. Any age group of women today - mothers, daughters, sisters -- would enjoy the question - can there really be an end to wanting your mom? Even after condemning behavior, your mom is still your Mom. Where are the limits to the power of mothers? Thank you for sharing your story and your "end." I will hug my kids extra tonight.
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