From Publishers Weekly
From the beginning, Richard, not Karen, was the talented musician whose parents moved across the country for a better career. Karen dabbled in music and tagged along on gigs, but it would be years before her show-stopping voice commanded the spotlight. And that shift, when the forgotten little sister became star of the act, Schmidt argues, marked the beginning of Karen's deadly, lifelong struggle with weight. Schmidt tracks the anxieties that seem to have driven her eating disorder, including a controlling mother and the lack of a stable love life. After the failure of her first solo effort, Karen made a bid for happiness with the dashing Tom Burris that would prove short-lived; he was only interested in her money. This was one setback too many for the gifted singer, and by 1983 she was dead, at 32. The self-destructive pressures of celebrity make for a familiar narrative, but Schmidt treats Karen's death not as an inevitability, but a tragedy that built slowly. His sympathies for the star border on fawning, but the copious research and quick-moving narration make this a volume that die-hard Carpenters fans and casual listeners alike will find interesting.
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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
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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