Saturday, 24 May 2014

Mommie Dearest: The Origin of the Exposé

A Review By: Amelia
What is it about celebrities that are just so damn fun to read about? Tabloid magazines are filled with hokey stories that just can’t possibly be true, yet people keep eating them up and demanding more… and I’m a little ashamed to say it, but I’m one of those people! I know, I know, but I just can’t help myself–celebrities salacious lifestyles are just plain entertaining! Mommie Dearest, being the first, is probably the most tantalizing of them all!

Mommie Dearest, as mentioned above, was the first ever Hollywood exposé and it took the world by storm as Christina Crawford wrote about her life growing up with Hollywood starlet and diva Joan Crawford as her mother. By Christina’s accounts, which she claims all true, life with the rich and famous Joan Crawford was not all it was cracked up to be!

The writer of Mommie Dearest, as mentioned above, is Christina Crawford–the eldest adoptive child of Joan Crawford. She was one of four adopted children and a first hand witness of Joan Crawford’s personal and private life. Her account of her family life has been under heavy fire since it was first published with the two youngest children of Joan (among others) denying the stories of abuse but others, including Joan’s second child Chris, confirming everything that his eldest sister has to say.

In the book, Christina tells many stories of childhood abuse at the hands of her mother. She tells stories of how her mother would come into her room at night and tear it apart only to have her clean it up again, or how she was constantly battling with alcoholism and engaging in affairs with men Christina and her siblings were forced to call Uncle and, she claims, even secret affairs with women. Christina even goes so far as to suggest that she and her three siblings may have been adopted for publicity purposes as Joan’s career went down the drain in the thirties. It’s a book that shows a dark side of Joan Crawford–perhaps a dark side of most Hollywood parents at the time–but, because it’s a book written from childhood memories and long burning grudges and emotions, some of it might be highly exaggerated.

Some people have claimed that everything in the book is a lie, but others confirm it. I, personally, believe
most of what Christina has to say, I mean, why write it if not to earn some feeling of having taken revenge? Her mother wasn’t fit to raise a child–let alone four–and if Christina needed this book to make herself feel better, I say why stop her? Of course what you believe after reading it might be something else entirely.

My final thoughts on Mommie Dearest are that it’s a good book: whether or not it’s all true. There’s just something about seeing the dark side of people that appeals to me and Joan Crawford–or, at the very least, Christina Crawford’s vision of her mother–is as dark as they come. 

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