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Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter Hardcover – May 17, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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"[A] heart-rending biography . . . The author relates Karen’s story in writing as fluid and affectless as her singing . . . As Schmidt details Karen’s unstoppable fall, Little Girl Blue becomes one of the saddest tales in pop . . . This compassionate book gives a tortured waif the third dimension she deserved." New York Times Book Review
Heartbreaking. . . . Schmidt succeeds in bringing a gifted, troubled musician to vivid life.” People
Told with compassion and understanding, this poignant and richly fascinating story of Karen Carpenter reads more like a novel you can’t put down than the extensively and impeccably researched biography it actually is.” David Kaufman, author of Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door
A fascinating, and at times harrowing, read. . . . Schmidt adds vital new information to our understanding of this contradictory and conflicted artist. . . . We know how her story ends, but Schmidt has made it as absorbing as it is deeply humane.” Blurt
[Schmidt’s] fresh perspective reanimates the rise and fall of an American recording icon. . . . [A] dense, fact-filled treatment, which carefully skirts sensationalism while exposing new truths in this haunting tragedy.” Kirkus Reviews
Very comprehensive . . . heartbreaking.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The copious research and quick-moving narration make this a volume that die-hard Carpenters fans and casual listeners alike will find interesting." Publishers Weekly
Like most of Karen Carpenter’s songs, this book pulls you in and triggers more emotion than you bargained for. Finally, the story of this angelic voice is told.” Stephen Cox, author of The Munsters: A Trip Down Mockingbird Lane
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Top Customer Reviews
So, news of this latest and wonderful biography had me champing at the bit as soon as I heard about its release.
I could not put this book down. And this did not necessarily serve my sleep well (note to self: do not expect to have a good night's sleep if you read such haunting books). It is a heart wrenching tale of heartbreak, control issues, deceit, and the complete misunderstanding of a soul so old and so sensitive that I could not get through this painfully honest biography without a lot of Kleenex.
To literally slowly kill yourself from self-starvation/anorexia nervosa is a tragedy, but when you read about WHY and HOW it happened to this one of a kind talent, you will want to go out and purchase a ouija board to contact and tell off her mother, Agnes, who was such a bitch and so insensitive and controlling that she made Joan Crawford look like Carol Brady.
Karen had no one on her side when it came to her family; all control freaks (except her pacifist father). She was shoved to the back of the line more often than not and was, despite being at the forefront of the Carpenters with that gorgeous voice, placed and kept firmly in the shadow of her older brother, Richard ("The talented one," says Agnes). Mom would see to that.
We find out in her sad story, however, that Karen DID have some very trusted and supportive friends and I am so happy that we are FINALLY hearing their side of the story.Read more ›
In the foreward, Mr. Schmidt explains how previous attempts to tell the Karen Carpenter story were stymied by the Carpenter family, specifically Richard Carpenter, in an attempt to subdue an unfavorable light on Karen's mother, Agnes. Understandibly, Mr. Carpenter was protecting his mother, and he disagrees with the view that Agnes Carpenter was a dominant factor in Karen's anorexia. Richard suggests that Karen's anorexia was perhaps genetic in origin, and it would have surfaced whether Karen was a music superstar or "housewife". Perhaps this is true. Karen's anorexia seems to begin when she was asked to leave her drums and front the group by becoming the lead singer.Read more ›
But Karen Carpenter's sudden and unexpected death at the age of 32 in 1983 belatedly let the world know that the Carpenters had a much more complicated story than the wholesome images presented by press releases and interviews had let on. As a result, many critics began to revise their opinions about the group's work. Ray Coleman's 1994 authorized biography offered some insights into the Carpenter story as it revealed some criticism of both Richard and mother Agnes, who even through editing came across to readers as difficult. But many complained that the family's participation in Coleman's book hindered the author from telling Karen's full story.
In the new book, Little Girl Blue, Randy Schmidt appears to benefit from Richard's refusal to work with him. That, coupled with the death of Agnes in 1996, seems to have allowed Carpenter associates to speak more freely about their observations of the family. Schmidt also manages to provide perspectives of people missing from Coleman's book. Although she has a relatively small role in the book, I was fascinated that Schmidt interviewed Florine Elie, the family's longtime housekeeper.
As a result of these new interviews, readers get a fuller (and sadder) understanding of Karen. Twenty-seven years after her death, she comes across as a much more complex person than was represented during her lifetime.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ages hated Karen. Plain and simple. Karen lived in a cold environment and was brainwashed over and over again to support the brother and there was no support for her. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Abby123
Informative! Karen Carpenter has always been the very woman that I would exactly want to be when I grow up ever since I was kid along with Joni Mitchell. This is a must read!Published 7 days ago by Sandra Giraldo
I grew up with the music of the Carpenters. I did know a lot about them from articles and tv shows. This book gets into the details of their rise to fame but also tells the story... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Denise A, Healy
I have always loved Karen's singing and felt her story was quite a sad one. What I didn't like about this book was all the stuff about all the songs that someone else wrote or all... Read morePublished 9 days ago by MaryO
A very informational story about HC but a little too drawn-out for my taste. Definitely much blame can be blamed on Karen's mother and a do-nothing father and a brother who was... Read morePublished 10 days ago by PT Lovejoy