Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$4.98
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll Paperback – March 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, March 1, 2004
$17.37 $0.01

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The original "Barbie," an 111/2 fashion model doll with an hourglass figure, was introduced to the American public in 1959 and has been a bestseller ever since. In this witty and perceptive study Lord, a columnist for New York Newsday, chronicles Barbie's history and her relevance as a cultural icon. Ruth Handler, co-owner of Mattel Toys, modeled Barbie on a sexy plastic German pin-up that was sold to men in tobacco shops. The popularity of Barbie and her ever-expanding wardrobe with preteen girls led to the development of "Ken" and "Midge" dolls and a line of African American fashion dolls. Lord's comprehensive research includes interviews with toy-makers, an eclectic group of Barbie collectors, visual artists and feminists who disagree on Barbie's impact on young girls. The author sees Barbie, whose careers have included surgeon, pilot and astronaut, as a female role model, and credits her childhood play with Barbie as helping her cope with her own mother's mastectomy. Illustrations.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

If you think Barbie is just a child's plaything, you'll think again after reading this fascinating, funny, and far-reaching biography of the pointy-breasted, slim-waisted, high-arched gal who changed the way we think about dolls and ourselves. Lord, who writes for Newsday, approaches the story like an investigative reporter. She unearths Barbie's low origins as Lili, a slutty doll sold to German men as a gag gift, and goes on to cover the Barbie story on numerous fronts: creative, commercial, and sociological. She interviews Barbie's designers, critics, collectors, even a woman who has undergone more than 50 cosmetic surgeries so she can look like a Barbie doll. Feminist thinkers including Camille Paglia, Betty Friedan, and Susan Faludi also weigh in with opinions. No doubt about it: Barbie is a gal who engenders intense feelings. As Lord puts it, "For every mother that embraces Barbie . . . there is another mother who tries to banish Barbie from the house." Cheerleaders, career women, bulimics, and mythmakers can all hang their hats--with justification--on Barbie's well-coiffed head. Lord, for example, makes a convincing case that Barbie is a pagan symbol, a queen surrounding herself with such drones as the penis-less Ken. We can buy that easily enough, but when Lord describes Barbie as "an incarnation of the One Goddess with a thousand names . . . an archetype of something ancient, matriarchal, and profound," she might be going just a wee bit over the top. For less high-minded readers, who just like Barbie as a doll, Lord lists almost every Barbie ever marketed, from Day-to-Night Barbie to Barbie Loves McDonalds to Gymnast Barbie, who's flexible body was capable of all sorts of workouts. The photographs are terrific, too, especially, the close-up of the original Barbie with her sly eyes and arched brows. Forever Barbie is better than most biographies of real people. What a doll! Ilene Cooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802776949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802776945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,463,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Talisman on December 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is not a "pro-Barbie" book, or an "anti-Barbie" book. It is an exploration of all aspects of Barbie the author finds significant. Topics include:
The history of Barbie's creation, her marketing and engineering by Mattel.
The differences between male and female executives in handling of the Barbie line.
Ruth Handler, Barbie's creator, and other prominent women in Barbie's life such as Charlotte Johnson, who designed her clothes in the early years, Judy Shackelford, Mattel's first female vice president, and Jill Barad, the marketing director & later Mattel COO, who pioneered the "We Girls Can Do Anything" advertising campaign in 1984.
A history of Barbie and ethnic identity (unfortunately someone had clipped pages out of this chapter in the library copy I read, so I can't say too much about it.)
Explorations of symbolic, sexual, & psychological meanings of the doll.
I found this book fascinating. A very enjoyable read. While it explores both the positive and negative views women have had of Barbie, I especially enjoyed the positive, including Barbie's history as a single independent career woman, the powerful career women involved in her creation, manufacture, & marketing over the years, and the somewhat fanciful but enjoyable discussion of her as a mythical archetype of the feminine.
I like when this book ventures into realms of the bizarre, like the exploration of Barbie's image in the context of fetishism and pornography. I suppose some people might be disturbed or offended by this, however.
I was frustrated by the lack of a list of illustrations, since photographs appear throughout the text, & are often mentioned later in the book. It's hard to go back and find the picture she's talking about.
Read more ›
2 Comments 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Though I read the book because I was interested in the subject matter and was doing research for a writing project of my own, what really struck me here was the talent of the writer. M.G. Lord is a rare combination for a writer. She has both the mechanics and the heart down-pat: She can construct a sentence or turn a phrase like nobody's business, AND she digs into and presents the most relevant content with good judgment. The broad array of cultural references at the tip of her consciousness alone is quite impressive. I enjoyed the book, and even laughed often at the edgy humor.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who knew that Barbie was modeled after a German porn doll? Before reading this book I thought that was just a feminist urban myth. MG Lord does a good job of delving into the complexities of the Barbie doll effects on our collective psyches. I'm still proud of the fact that I beheaded all of my older sister's hand-me-down Barbies, but I now have greater appreciation for what it was exactly that I was beheading. This is a very engaging read and my favorite of Lord's books.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
Forever Barbie by M.G. Lord, a Kindle book I started reading on August 9th. I was in a bind about if I should read a non-fiction biography or a sociological/social commentary book. .... Bingo.

This book's writing style is surprisingly cheeky and really well-documents Barbie's physical and occupational changes to the times, right down to the rotation of her torso in 1967 and the examples of pseudosexual accessories that Barbie used vs Ken's (i.e. Barbie's boxy purses with bananas spilling out of it as 'Suburban Shopper' vs Ken's slim electric shaver, long baseball bat, and backyard BBQ ensemble with a barbeque fork skewering a plastic weenie). The book also compares Barbie as a conduit of feminism to young girls and describes the lives and careers of people who worked to promote and construct Barbie as a doll and cultural mainstay.

The only faults that this book has is maybe going too deep/Freudian/fertility goddess, going on and on about company lawsuits and mergers, emphasis on Barbie performance and conceptual art, and bopping back and forth nauseatingly between time periods.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
On the one hand, this is an impressively researched book written with humor and intelligence. I'd love to see a new edition tracking some of the more recent developments in Barbie's empire. But some of Ms. Lord's arguments drift unpersuasively far into psycho-sexual realms. When she used an obscure 43 minute 1987 documentary as her three-page focus for the conflicting causes of eating disorders, she completely lost me.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Barbie owners must add this book to round out any collections. It's the story of the dolls creation, that she was actually modeled after a German doll which was sold as a gag gift for men. I'll let the reader continue that story themselves.

The history of our beloved doll actually mirrors societies changes, for better or worse, in fact she represents a social history of every notable era since her creation. Barbie Forever was a fascinating read, it hooked me from the start.

I still have my original bubble haired Barbie, I'm not a collector yet I still log on at times to her number one web sit just to view new dolls. So it stands to say I wanted to read the book, finished it in three days.

Great book!!!!!
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I finally read this book after buying it a few years back, and I couldn`t put it down-rare for a work of nonfiction. LOTS of good Barbie stuff here, including her influence on our art and culture, but what got me was the detailed and well-researched history of the doll. I`d never heard the full story of how Ruth Handler based her on the Lili doll, for instance. And toy fans and collectors will be fully absorbed by the history of Mattel, the growth of the African-American Shindana toy company, the origin stories of Ken, Midge, and Francie, Barbie`s evolution to a working doll in the 80`s...just so much. It`s an objective look at this famous icon, but one can sense a certain affection for Barbie on the author`s part. Also intriguing: a section on B. and eating disorders, and artists who utilize her in their work.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews