Customer Reviews for

Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

An incisive, no-holds-barred account of the life of Karen Carpenter

Being an avid Carpenter fan, throughout the years something about the story we were told about her life and death just didn't add up. There was first of all the 1989 TV movie "The Karen Carpenter Story" and then Ray Coleman's "The Carpenters: The Untold Story" five year...
Being an avid Carpenter fan, throughout the years something about the story we were told about her life and death just didn't add up. There was first of all the 1989 TV movie "The Karen Carpenter Story" and then Ray Coleman's "The Carpenters: The Untold Story" five years later. Now, sixteen years later, author Randy Schmidt, who spent nearly a decade researching this effort, has been able to write a book based on many interviews, some with the same people Coleman's book interviewed, but this time the Carpenter family did not control the content. The result is a well written and documented book that delves into the life of one of the greatest female singers in pop music history.

Karen Carpenter's life was short, triumphant, yet also very tragic. In this book the reasons only previously hinted at for her struggle against anorexia nervosa are fully explored. New details are now known about her relationship with a rigid, controlling mother. Her disastrous marriage. Her career, the success of which she was constantly reminded was because of her brother. Her aborted solo album, an attempt at indepencence as an artist which was sabotaged on several fronts. And lastly, the truth about what ultimately took her life.

When I finished this book, I left it with a firm sense of what led to Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia and ultimately her death. Anyone who remembers the melancholy beauty of the music of the Carpenters must get this book!

posted by JohnAJ on May 30, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Not my favorite

The book was ok. A little slow in places

posted by 10390378 on November 1, 2012

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  • Posted May 30, 2010

    An incisive, no-holds-barred account of the life of Karen Carpenter

    Being an avid Carpenter fan, throughout the years something about the story we were told about her life and death just didn't add up. There was first of all the 1989 TV movie "The Karen Carpenter Story" and then Ray Coleman's "The Carpenters: The Untold Story" five years later. Now, sixteen years later, author Randy Schmidt, who spent nearly a decade researching this effort, has been able to write a book based on many interviews, some with the same people Coleman's book interviewed, but this time the Carpenter family did not control the content. The result is a well written and documented book that delves into the life of one of the greatest female singers in pop music history.

    Karen Carpenter's life was short, triumphant, yet also very tragic. In this book the reasons only previously hinted at for her struggle against anorexia nervosa are fully explored. New details are now known about her relationship with a rigid, controlling mother. Her disastrous marriage. Her career, the success of which she was constantly reminded was because of her brother. Her aborted solo album, an attempt at indepencence as an artist which was sabotaged on several fronts. And lastly, the truth about what ultimately took her life.

    When I finished this book, I left it with a firm sense of what led to Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia and ultimately her death. Anyone who remembers the melancholy beauty of the music of the Carpenters must get this book!

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    An illuminating look at a too-short life

    At last, a biography which warmly and sensitively explores the life of singer Karen Carpenter, sharing her story while allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about the people and events which shaped her. Over a number of years Randy Schmidt carefully and thoroughly researched his subject, coordinating the results he found in a wealth of printed sources, but the true value in this book lies in the many personal interviews he was able to arrange with those who knew Karen, including her closest friends. He skillfully relates what had been to many fans a familiar story but goes beyond that to present a very insightful portrait of Karen, her family, her relationships, her marriage, her career and her deadly struggle with anorexia nervosa.

    The cover photo is a stunning choice, cropped and presented in such a way that the viewer is immediately transfixed by Karen's direct gaze, which engages one's attention before a single page has even been turned. The author also includes many other photos in the book, some being shared with the public for the first time.

    This biography is a must-read not just for all Carpenters fans, but for anyone who has ever marveled at that velvet, instantly-recognizable voice and savored that unique "Carpenters sound." Here we are given a fresh and intimate look at Karen the person beyond the performer and the complexities of a life beyond the stage or recording studio. We are treated to reminiscences of her fun-loving side, her wicked sense of humor and her thoughtfulness and caring towards family and friends.

    Sadly, this book is also a cautionary tale as it clearly illuminates how the impact of family dynamics as well as that of a successful but stressful career can have serious, even fatal consequences.

    In 1983 the world lost a unique, special and very talented woman, but Karen Carpenter lives on in the hearts of her family, friends and fans. Randy Schmidt honors her and has given us all a wonderful gift in this beautifully, thoughtfully written biography.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    PORTRAIT OF A GREAT ARTIST

    This is the biography that every ardent admirer of Karen Carpenter has been waiting nearly three decades for. In his candid, illuminating, inspiring, and ultimately soul-wrenching book, Randy L. Schmidt has given us a deeper explanation of Karen's life and untimely death. Far more than any previously published attempt, it answers all the questions that we, who still grieve for Karen, have been asking for years, and it clears up the mystery of her self-destruction. This is a biography that reads with the swift page-turning pace of an all-engrossing novel. And, although we know the tragic ending even before picking up this book, readers will be surprised by the many never-before-revealed facts of Karen's demise. "Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter" does not make Karen's death easier to accept, but at least for me, it actually does bring a sort of closure. And although this biography is respectful of its subject, it does not sweep difficult to accept facts under the carpet. This is one of the few biographies of an entertainment icon that I unreservedly recommend to all.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    Great Book!

    If you want to read a book about Karen Carpenter that is uncensorsed by her brother Richard then this is the one. It talks about her carrer & her struggle w/ anorexia. Her friends have put in their input about Karen & talk about how much they loved her & wanted to help her. Awesome book that is hard to put down.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2012

    I had devoured this book upon its release, and was enthralled by

    I had devoured this book upon its release, and was enthralled by the honesty (lack of family censorship, and Richard didn't send warnings to those being interviewed), integrity, grit, and truthfulness of its author Randy Schmidt. I've just been rrereading portions, and my opinions have only grown stronger. This is not a Kitty Kelley book when tons of anonymous sources say this or that; Schmidt a (actual) teacher in his own right meticulously supports everything in the book, including a terrific bibliography. He has writen, with enormous frankness and fairness, Karen's story, and this is an amazing biography. If the Hollywood studio moguls can get pass getting the rights to license and use the music in a film, this is a potentially Oscar winning role for a young actress (and for whoever plays Richard and Agnes as well).. Highest recommendation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    The rt name

    This is my second review the books title is fitting because she was always blue her mother was never happy and never showedpraise karen had controllover one thing - her eating which she starved herself and shestarved for attention its too bad cause the world lost s dream voiceand aclassy lady not only did we loose her but her brother too ashe no longer sings Regina (fan) montclair n j

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    This book Is Beyond Amazing

    * I have the movie A Song For You, The karen Carpenter Story. And This Book Takes That Movie To The Next Level. Once you start reading you cannot put This Book Down. This is the most comprehensive story of Karen Carpenter ever told. Randy Schmidt did A beyond amazing job of telling Karen's story. this is a must for any and everyone who ever heard or grew up listening to the Carpenters. This is a loving tribute to Karen That is guaranteed to last forever

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