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Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter [Format Kindle]

Randy L. Schmidt , Dionne Warwick
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

[A] heart-rending biography ... [Schmidt] relates Karen's story in writing as fluid and affectless as her singing. --The New York Times

...copious research and quick-moving narration make this a volume that die-hard Carpenters fans and casual listeners alike will find interesting. --Publishers Weekly

Présentation de l'éditeur

An intimate profile of one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century, this first full-length biography of Karen Carpenter details every aspect of her life, from her modest Connecticut upbringing and her rise to stardom in southern California to the real story of her tragic, untimely death. This illuminating depiction of a 1970s icon covers her time as lead singer of the Carpenters—the top-selling American musical act of the decade—and provides insight into their string of 16 consecutive top-20 hits, including "Close to You," "We've Only Just Begun," "Top of the World," and "Superstar," as well as a critical review of her aborted solo career. A behind-the-scenes look into the life of a superstar, from the prolific recordings and the relentless touring to the awards, fame, and fortune, this history also chronicles her struggle with anorexia nervosa and gives important new details from her autopsy that shed new light on her death at age 32. Groups such as Sonic Youth and the Corrs and artists including k. d. lang and Madonna have cited Karen Carpenter among their major influences, and this definitive biography, based on exclusive interviews with nearly 100 of her friends and associates, is a testament to her brief yet remarkable life.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2717 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 392 pages
  • Editeur : Chicago Review Press; Édition : Reprint (17 mai 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004D4Y1OA
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°60.894 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Intéressante à plus d'un titre 17 octobre 2013
Par Devichris
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
La biographie attendue de cette talentueuse chanteuse américaine trop tôt disparue et dont la carrière posthume a été trop gérée par la famille. Attention : Dionne Warwick n'est pas l'auteur de ce livre, tout juste a-t-elle rédigée une courte préface.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  404 commentaires
307 internautes sur 315 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 FINALLY - The Whole Heartbreaking Story of A Lost Soul 12 juin 2010
Par Blondzilla8 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I've been a Carpenters fan since age eight when I could hear "Close to You" coming through my older cousin's ear piece on her transistor AM radio. Next came drum lessons in grade five. Karen was my idol and my sisters and I devoured her LPs and cassettes like food groups while learning the art of precise harmonies in the process.

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. One can only imagine how much they miss their friend whom they tried diligently to save from herself and the negativity which surrounded her.

Lots of great information in this book about specific recording sessions, relationships, song writers, musicians, and wonderful details about the most pivotal events in Karen's life and is required reading for any Carpenters fan as well as anyone who grew up and developed their taste for pop music in the 1970s.

The interviews for "Little Girl Blue" were clearly conducted with care and compassion and the bevy of participants is very impressive. Kudos to Randy Schmidt for being a safe place for everyone to share and tell the real story, unlike the sterilized, sugar-coated versions in previous books which were CONTROLLED by Camp Carpenter. We even get the real story about that slag-heap husband, Tom Burris, who is evil incarnate from their first date. When you read this part of the story, your heart will break. And you'll see how Agnes strikes again in the name of "What will people think?"

On another note, I find it very interesting that when there are controlling parents who ostensibly "mean the best for their (dancing monkey-bread winning) children" and expect "perfection" even as they smile and vehemently deny being "controlling stage parents" (Boones, Osmonds, Carpenters) that an eating disorder (or worse) eventually surfaces within the family. These young women honestly feel as if they have no control over any part of their lives and that they'll never be good enough, so they resort to controlling the one thing that truly belongs to them: their bodies. Sad sad sad.

Read this book, but don't expect to feel happier after you do. You'll play your Carpenters albums during and afterward and never hear Karen's songs in quite the same way.

We can only hope that she's finally at peace wherever she is now - which HAS to be Heaven since she already lived through Hell.

Thanks to Randy L. Schmidt for a wonderful book.
186 internautes sur 195 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Pain Behind the Smile 27 juin 2010
Par kone - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Having previously read Ray Coleman's authorized biography on The Carpenters, The Carpenters: The Untold Story : An Authorized Biography, I came away with the sense there was much much more to the story of Karen Carpenter that was not being told. Previous to Coleman's book, there was the made for tv movie "The Karen Carpenter Story", which obviously was heavily edited by the Carpenter family. Neither gave conclusive, definitive reasons why America's musical sweetheart, Karen Carpenter, died of complications due to anorexia at the young age of 32 in 1983. This thoroughly detailed book by Randy Schmidt unveils the long-hidden reasons behind Karen Carpenter's untimely death. Schmidt wrote this book without interference from Richard Carpenter, so he has complete journalistic freedom to tell the entire story. Richard Carpenter does not contribute to this book (no comments, no interviews), and made no attempt to thwart Mr. Schmidt or censor him in any way. The painful truth of Karen Carpenter is told here.

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. Karen admits that leaving the "safety" of her drums was an extremely hard transition for her. Being in the spotlight in front of thousands of fans (and critics) obviously brings any inherent personality and body-image insecurities to the forefront. Perhaps this factor above all others triggered Karen's descent into anorexia. Researchers know that anorexia has complex origins, including parental control issues, perfectionism, stress, body-image dysfunction, among other factors. It tends to be a condition exhibited by (mostly) caucasian women who have one or more controlling parents, lack self-esteem, are people-pleasers, and are perfectionists. The theory is that these women "discover" anorexia, as it is the only area in their lives in which they have complete control; therefore and ultimately, anorexia becomes a "silent" form of rebellion against the forces that control the individual. Anorexia becomes a desperate attempt to break away from a highly controlled, "boxed-in", emotionally stiffled life.

Karen Carpenter's life shows her intense struggle to break away from the unsatisfactory life she was living. In 1980, she (bravely) made a solo album with Phil Ramone, against the wishes of Richard and Agnes Carpenter. Perhaps this was an attempt by Karen, whether realized or not, to break away from the Carpenter mould and assert her independence (and self-worth)? Was her ill-conceived marriage to Tom Burris in 1980 an attempt to break away from the Carpenter family too? Perhaps. Ultimately, both avenues proved agonizingly fruitless, with her solo album rejected by Richard and A&M record bosses (the album was shelved), and her marriage essentially over within several months of saying "I do". Mr. Schmidt reveals that Mr. Burris received a monetary settlement to not reveal any details about his marriage to Karen. Most likely, Richard Carpenter bought his silence in an attempt to protect Karen's image. More about Mr. Burris later.

In reading this book, I came to realize Karen's life was essentially controlled by other key people in her life. Her professionaly life was tied to Richard, and the family did not support her attempt at a solo album, as it did not include Richard. Therefore, her voice "belonged" to the Carpenters. Since she absolutely adored Richard, she would do nothing to displease him professionally. Her solo album with Phil Ramone (1980) was shelved when Richard and the brass at A&M records discouraged her from publishing it. Mother Agnes Carpenter is depicted as an overbearingly-opinionated, controlling parent, who demonstrably favored Richard at the expense of Karen. According to Karen's anorexia therapist, Steven Levenkron, Karen needed the affirmation of her mother's love, but none was given. Instead Agnes' message was clear: Richard was the "star", not Karen, and without Richard there would be no Karen. Karen's father, Harold, loved Karen dearly, yet, was apparently too passive to stand up to the tirades and demands of wife Agnes, and lacked the emotional will to help Karen during her therapy for anorexia in New York. Husband Tom Burris apparently was a dead-beat liar who conned Karen into believing he was independently wealthy (a requirement of hers in a husband), and then once married, repeatedly "borrowed" thousands of dollars in hand-outs from Karen, and then rejected her completely when she descended into anorexia - calling her a "bag of bones". He also falsely represented his fertility status to Karen, and did not reveal he had a vasectomy until a few days before their wedding! Since Karen wanted children, this was a tremendous blow, and she considered calling off the marriage. However, Agnes told Karen she would get married, as the relatives were flying over for the wedding from overseas! Agnes told Karen - You made your bed - now sleep in it! In other words: I don't care about your feelings Karen, we are going to keep up appearances, stuff the emotions, and put on a brave smile and go on with the wedding. And that is exactly what Karen did.

Finally, is it fair to suggest that perhaps Karen bears some degree of responsibility for her failed anorexia treatment? I state this as a rhetorical question, as I really do not know the answer, but wonder how much responsibility the anorexic has for their disorder. The anorexic acts out her rebellion (not eating) in a highly secretive and disfunctional manner. Anorexia is not a healthy response to the deep-seated emotional control issues that drive this illness. Getting medical help is necessary, therapy to understand the reasons for anorexia, cooperating and having insight in therapy, confrontation of the controlling people and forces - all of these contribute to the healthy recovery of the anorexic. While Karen attempted therapy, it was on her terms, and as this book clearly shows, she was not a cooperative patient. While in therapy, she abused laxatives, was taking (very dangerous) thyroid medication to increase her metabolism, continued to exercise fanatically (briskly walking two miles every day), and just before the end of her life, used ipecac to induce vomiting (purging). Daily use of ipecac is a poison that damages the heart. Perhaps this is what ultimately resulted in the death of Karen Carpenter - self-induced poisoning.

Karen (and Richard) were perfectionists as well, (amazing how many times the word "perfection" is used in this book) and anything which fell short of Karen's perfectionist standards added more stress to her life. Perfectionists are controllers at heart, and wish to control every aspect of their lives, thereby creating the "perfect" life they desire. Perfectionists often feel they need to be perfect to gain love, affirmation, and the positive acknowledgement of others. People-pleasers often sacrifice their own dreams to please those around them. As this book shows quite clearly, Karen Carpenter had all the unfortunate ingredients for an anorexia eating disorder in her life, and it all came together when she was about 23 years of age. Her life is one continual battle with anorexia from that point on until she died just short of her 33rd birthday.

While she wanted nothing more than to live a life free of the controlling factors that hampered her own emotional expression, ulitmately she was unable to do this. This is the sad, but real story behind the "sterilized" public image of America's sweetheart, Karen Carpenter. I am most grateful to Author Randy Schmidt for bringing the truth to light. Several other reviewers have suggested that Mr. Schmidt's book is just a recitation of Ray Coleman's book. I do not see it that way at all. Randy Schmidt's book adds the pertinent details that Ray Coleman was not allowed to write. Both books have their necessary place, but as mentioned, Mr. Schmidt had the literary freedom to express what what has not allowed expression before (i.e. critical comments about the Carpenter family, for example, the comments made by Carpenter secretary Evelyn Wallace)

Fans of Karen Carpenter now know more details into the painful factors that led the sweetest singer of the 1970's, the girl next door, to a premature death. The truth is not pleasent, but I am grateful the truth has been told.

88 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful musical legacy but a sad life 28 mai 2010
Par eclectictastes - Publié sur Amazon.com
During their heyday from 1970 - 1976, the Carpenters, or more specifically their image, were often derided as bland, vanilla and uninteresting. Many people who considered themselves hip in the 70s would rarely admit to owning a Carpenters record or even liking them (considering the millions of records sold, many of those who publicly dismissed the group probably had their albums hidden at home.)

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. Part of that complexity appears to derive from being born to older parents who, like many of that generation, placed a premium of emotional investment in their son despite evidence that their daughter had natural talents as a musician that were equal to her brother. Unfortunately, we'll never be sure since those talents didn't receive the same nurturing and encouragement from her mother.

An empty personal life, a short (and what appeared to be a sometimes violent) marriage plus an album that was supposed to represent her quest for artistic and personal independence only to be rejected by both Richard and the record company all seemed to hasten her fatal and sad decline.

Schmidt has an obvious dedication to writing about his subject and does a very good job in relating the desire of Karen's friends to tell what they consider to be her true story. You also feel their anguish and frustration as they relive her decline and mourn what could have become of both the person and the talent.
33 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Cover Photo Says It All -- a terrific biography 1 juin 2010
Par Greg New York City - Publié sur Amazon.com
Enormous kudos to Randy Schmidt with this brilliant biography of Karen Carpenter -- beautifully written, meticulously researched, evenhanded throughout (not simply a beat up Richard piece, by any means) but never flinching from the truth. Schmidt, gratefully, didn't have to answer to the Carpenters family in his research and writing; accordingly, this is the definitively honest story of the life of the glorious Karen Carpenter. Schmidt had the generous participation of Karen's closest friends, and while we all know the basic story, there are many revelations to be read here. About the only thing that's not addressed are (i) some direct comments about how Richard has done little over the past two decades other than to fuss and remix with their collaborations, in one unending compilation after another and (ii) what is really left in the vaults that could be released. Those small nit-picks aside, this is a wonderful book -- truthful, detailed, heartbreaking, and direct.

Highest recommendation for anyone who loves Karen and the Carpenters (as well as for anyone else as well). One of the best things I can say about a book is that it doesn't just float out of your mind when you're finished with hits -- LITTLE GIRL BLUE has been resonating with me ever since I finished the last page. A brilliant job.
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A MASTERFUL BIOGRAPHY 4 juillet 2010
Par Richard Tyler Jordan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is the biography that I have waited 27 years for someone to write. With "Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter," author Randy Schmidt has accomplished what I never thought anyone would or could. He has succeeded in giving us a substantive, poignant, candid, and heartbreaking account of the woman whose ethereal voice captured my heart when I was a teenager, and shattered that heart when she died on February 4th, 1983. After nearly three decades since the still hard to believe death of Karen, "Little Girl Blue" answers all the questions that I've had about her life. For the millions of fans who adored The Carpenters' music, and who still grieve Karen's self-destruction, this may be the book that provides closure for them. Thank you Randy L. Schmidt for writing a biography that does not whitewash the causes that led to the disintegration - and death - of my beloved Karen.
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