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Hollywood's Children: An Inside Account of the Child Star Era Paperback – 1997
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Diana Serra Cary's well-wrought, empathetic narrative presents he underside of he glittering stage and screen world; frightened children, merchants who buy and sell childhood as a commodity, rapacious stage mothers and fathers whose ambition and avarice make them willing to sacrifice their children to fulfill their own dreams
Top customer reviews
Unlike many former child stars, however, Ms. Cary was able to use her insight in a constructive way: she wrote about her experiences. She expanded on this, to create a book that covers the child star era from the late 19th century, beginning with such stage sensations as Cordelia Howard and Lotta Crabtree, and ending in the mid 20th century with Margaret O'Brien.
This isn't a gossipy tell-all celebrity book. It's a thoughtful look at the impact of fame and sudden wealth on child stars and their families. It can be painful reading at times, especially the realization of the pressure placed on the shoulders of these children as primary breadwinners, and how it impacted their parents', their siblings', and their own feelings of self-worth.
Ms. Cary is a gifted writer, and her book is fascinating as an account of early Hollywood, as well as an inside look at the early lives of some of Hollywood's most famous kids. It is obvious that she researched this material thoroughly, and added her own insight and memories for a more personal touch. When I read it for the first time, I found myself recalling various talk show interviews with former child stars, and thinking, "Oh, okay, THAT'S what they were getting at."
If you have an interest in Hollywood's history, family dynamics, child stars of Hollywood's golden days, or just feel like reading an interesting book on a subject that isn't often discussed, this book is highly recommended.