Tuesday, December 9, 2014

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me

Title: There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me
Author: Brooke Shields
Published: November 18th 2014 by Dutton Adult
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Genre: Memoir

I am not sure how others will interpret this book, but to me, it came across as a rough draft written by a person that was just spewing and needed to have an editor with a firm hand and a very red correction pen. Paragraphs rambled and repeated themselves, incorrect tense of words and in some cases, completely wrong words, and large sections read more like ideas than well thought out paragraphs. You would think that Dutton or Penguin would kindly pat Brooke’s hand and say, “thank you, we will take it from here”, but no, they let this drivel go on for four hundred monotonous pages.

Yes Brooke, we get it, your mother had a drinking problem and you did not separate from her the way most offspring do and until her death, you did not know where she ended and you began. This sad fact did not need to be repeated in every chapter. It did not endear you to me; it just made me sad for a daughter that was desperately trying to redeem her mother in the eyes of the public.

I am not saying that there was not love between mother and daughter; I believe that they loved each other so much that there was little room for anyone else. Unfortunately for Brooke, from a very young age, she decided to ignore her mother’s compulsive lies and chose for most of her life to believe what she needed to believe. Laughing off the stories as little white lies and making excuses became Brooke’s full time job.

By the end of the book, I was sad for Brooke. Except for the alcoholism, I was beginning to see Brooke as no different from her mother. The stories were exaggerated, name-calling of ex-boyfriends, twisting situations to where she always came out on top. Dramatic outburst and hyperbolic language seemed to be the same go to for both mother and daughter.

If you can make it to the end, there is a very loving tribute and that is where the book should have ended. But of course not, the hand of reason did not eliminate the section telling of Brooke’s purchasing yet another home and decorating it, having a breakdown of sorts and rushing out to buying new furnishing that were more along the likes of her husband and herself. Really, this should have been used as the beginning of another book. One where she is finally building her own life.

Brooke herself said that the writing of this book was not cathartic for her and I would have to say that it was not beneficial to me either. This is one of those books that is best picked up from a bargain bin or a library rummage sale.

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