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An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House Paperback – November 8, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A hilarious, poignant, chilling, panic attack of a memoir. You won't be able to leave home until you finish An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood."
Peter Fenton
Eyeing the Flash
Simon & Schuster, Publishers


"An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood is a memoir from Darlene Craviotto as she shares her adventures of breaking out into her Hollywood career as a working mother with a pile of problems on her plate and much stress all around with plenty of humor.  An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood is a fun and much recommended addition to memoir collections."
Paul T. Vogel
The Midwest Book Review


"This is a fast read, hard to put down."
Joe DelPriore
Indie Reader

From the Author

An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House      
anagoraphobicsguide.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Front Door Books (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984671196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984671199
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,911,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I know very little about Agoraphobia and wasn't a massive Michael Jackson fan, so this book wouldn't normally have appealed to me. However, once I started, I honestly couldn't stop reading it - work got in the way! Ms Craviotto's agoraphobia is a wonderful reflection of Michael's timid and shy nature; both of them reluctant to leave their homes for different reasons. They both seem to understand the vulnerability in each other, creating a bond that is creatively productive in developing a script that is true to Barrie's original Peter Pan story. Michael is appealing - demonstrating tenderness and sensitivity in his childlike way - always wanting to model himself on Peter. There are some awkward questions surrounding Michael that may upset his fans and were probably very difficult for Ms Craviotto to write. Overall, I found this book to be an inspiration for life - make the most of it and maybe look at things through a child's innocent eyes just once in a while. Excellent read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read all previous reviews to date and have to admit that I agree with points on both sides and so am feeling rather conflicted. I'll skip describing the story line because others have done that. I will have to say though, as an aside, that just a couple months before reading Darlene's story, I had been in her former neighborhood, had walked down Poinsettia St, had visited Westlake Studios, the Century City hideaway, etc, and so could very clearly visualize some of the scenes in her book. I want to comment though about the MJ side of the story.

What I found most fascinating about the book was the insight into Michael's psyche as he crafted, created and imagined the characters of Peter Pan. He clearly projected his own feelings of loneliness, fear and fantasy into the characters. He really WAS those children in his childlike emotions. Many people have ridiculed Michael for his "childlikeness" and accused it of being a ruse. It wasn't. Very few of us could ever imagine what he lived through from very early childhood into adulthood. Also glaring was the powerful theme of good vs evil (eg, Cook vs PP) that he was determined to hammer home in the film. Again, given his life and all the dark forces he encountered from a very early age, is it any wonder that he saw the world in terms of good vs evil, betrayers vs victims, users vs prey? I have read dozens of books about Michael but I have to say I gained more insight into him in this book than in almost any other. When he turned steely and cold, maybe it was to remind himself that if he didn't protect himself, no one else would because no one else ever did. He was a commodity - not a human being. Everyone had their hand out.
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Format: Paperback
The year is 1990 and, though there are already rumors of strange goings-on, Michael Jackson is at the height of his power. Steven Spielberg wants him for a Peter Pan movie (with Michael as Peter, natch). Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of Disney, is onboard with the idea. Darlene Craviotto, an award-winning screenwriter, is called in to write the film. She is told she has until September to turn in a script, but Katzenberg's idea of September is May. Talk about pressure.

For Craviotto, the pressure is compounded by her agoraphobia, a panic disorder producing attacks of intense fear and anxiety, which she and her agent, Raymond, have kept a secret. A serious auto accident left Craviotto petrified to leave her house, let alone drive a car. Her husband, an out-of-work actor, and two kids under six, only add to her feelings of pressure.

The bulk of An Agoraphobic's Guide to Hollywood consists of detailed descriptions of Craviotto's meetings with Michael Jackson, recorded with his permission. The result puts the reader front row center--privy to his giggles, intense vulnerability and the fact that he hates his father for hitting him. Talk of Peter's loneliness seems to meld with the star's own experience.

Craviotto battles Michael's sometimes awkward silences and quicksilver mood changes--going from man/child to authoritative businessman--and the author comes across, by turns, baffled, frustrated, charmed and intimidated.

Interspersed throughout the story are episodes describing Craviotto's battle to overcome her agoraphobia and she does a fine job delineating the panic that sets in when she has to drive even a few blocks by herself. Her writing is straightforward, mixing dialogue with inner narrative revealing her reactions to everything going on around her.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have to admit that although the book is essentially about the author's struggles to overcome agoraphobia, I often forgot that because the back story was so exciting.

This screenwriter was asked to collaborate on a new Peter Pan movie featuring Michael Jackson as Peter Pan. Although the author worked for the movie company, it was understood that she needed to collaborate with Michael Jackson and keep him happy while still fulfilling her contract with her employers. I found an inside look at Michael Jackson to be mesmerizing. The author's relationship with Michael Jackson, characterized as a huge pop star/Peter Pan/child buddy, is contrasted nicely with the descriptions of the author's family, consisting of a wonderful, understanding, and grown-up husband and two small children.

A theme that I greatly enjoyed was the contrast of freedom versus imprisonment, either by fame or phobia.

Although the writing portion of the project was successfully completed, and the author managed to make great strides in leaving home, the Peter Pan movie was never made. I wish it had been; I think I would have loved it.

Two pinpricks: Malcolm Forbes' death is mentioned twice, but the first time he's referred to as Michael Forbes. This needs correction. The second is that the author describes the statue of a small boy with a fishing pole, spelled "poll." In an election year, I found that one charming.

I received this book for free in order to review it for the website The Kindle Book Review. I am not connected in any way to either the author or publisher.

-- Java Davis ([...])
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