Little Girl Blue

Little Girl Blue

The Life of Karen Carpenter

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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Baker & Taylor
Describes the childhood and music career of the lead singer of the Carpenters, a popular singing duo in the 1970s, and her early death from heart failure, the result of years of suffering with anorexia nervosa.

Independent Publishing Group

Little Girl Blue is an intimate profile of Karen Carpenter, a girl from a modest Connecticut upbringing who became a Southern California superstar.

            Karen was the instantly recognizable lead singer of the Carpenters. The top-selling American musical act of the 1970s, they delivered the love songs that defined a generation. Karen’s velvety voice on a string of 16 consecutive Top 20 hits from 1970 to 1976—including “Close to You,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Superstar,” and “Hurting Each Other”—propelled the duo to worldwide stardom and record sales of more than 100 million. During their short musical career, the Carpenters released ten studio albums, toured more than 200 days a year, taped five television specials, and won three Grammys and an American Music Award.

            But that’s only a part of Karen’s story. Little Girl Blue reveals Karen’s heartbreaking struggles with her mother, brother, and husband; the intimate disclosures she made to her closest friends; her love for playing drums and her frustrated quest for solo stardom; and the ups and downs of her treatment for anorexia nervosa. After her shocking death at 32 years of age in 1983, she became the proverbial poster child for that disorder; but the other causes of her decline are laid bare for the first time in this moving account.

            Little Girl Blue is Karen Carpenter’s definitive biography, based on exclusive interviews with her innermost circle of girlfriends and nearly 100 others, including professional associates, childhood friends, and lovers. It tells a story as touching, warm, and involving as any of Karen’s greatest songs.



Baker
& Taylor

An intimate profile of Karen Carpenter, a girl from a modest Connecticut upbringing who became a Southern California superstar.

Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781556529764
1556529767
Branch Call Number: Biography C226s
Characteristics: xv, 351 p., plates : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Life of Karen Carpenter

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t
TBooker27
Aug 30, 2016

If you are unfamiliar with Karen Carpenter's story, you may enjoy this book more than I did. Based on the jacket description of content not being edited or approved by the family, I was expecting new information or ideas but was disappointed.

l
Liselara
Dec 24, 2015

Why on earth would the author choose such an awful photo of Karen Carpenter for this biography when there are so many beautiful renditions of her? I think it goes to his poor choices on what he wanted to feature in this book. I found him to be all over the place, jumping around years (if not decades) and there are so many people involved, he should have added an alphabetical list to keep them all straight. On the same token, few of the interviewees gave anything other than lite bites and he frequently quotes or relies on another biographer. On the one hand, he paints a picture of her parents (particularly her mother) as monsters and yet skims over the times when they were working three jobs to ensure Karen and Richard had quality instruments. I am not sure if Karen Carpenter was a spoiled brat bent on destructive behavior due to over indulgences or a soulful artist that no one understood. Schmidt gave me the impression she was mentally unbalanced but go to Youtube and bring up her solo album recorded not long before she died. Her voice is magic. The song choices did not particularly appeal to me but the arrangements are haunting. Appallingly, near the end the author quotes one of Karen's friends telling the story that her husband refused to have children with her because she was "nothing more than a bag of bones". How could anyone know if that was actually true or not? This book succeeds on bringing forth some highly reflective material but I never got a real sense of Karen; he does a much better job with Richard.

booklady413 Apr 17, 2015

I grew up listening to Karen's truly beautiful voice. She had a gift of expression that came from her soul, a soul and heart looking for love and acceptance. I don't think she ever thought she was good enough, a tragedy apparent in all people with eating disorders. I recently listened to her solo album where she was trying to become her own person. It's not what you would expect compared to her work with her brother, but nevertheless good. She should be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. Karen Carpenter is gone, but not forgotten.

j
J3anB3an
Dec 29, 2014

We can all learn a little empathy for another's struggles. My admiration for her wonderful talent and fighting spirit grew more while reading this book.

m
mswrite
Jun 07, 2014

Wow...poor Karen.
I remember when Close to You and We've Only Just Begun were first released and like just about everyone else who ever heard these and other classic Carpenters songs I fell in love with the velvet warmth and deep melancholy of Karen Carpenter's voice; it was quite distinctive from anything I was listening to at the time. (I also loved the fact that she was the band's drummer, an unusual combination for women in pop music, then and now).
Though I was shocked and saddened to learn of Karen's death and the anorexia that killed her (and suspected there had to be more to the tragedy then we were being told at the time), until this book I had no idea just what in her short, sad life she'd been up against: a cold and relentlessly unsupportive mother, determined that her favorite, Richard, was the family star; a genial but weak father who could never stand up for his daughter or himself; a talented but jealous and narcissistic older brother--both Richard Carpenter and his mother Agnes seemed to resent any attempts Karen made to assert and establish herself creatively and personally--and finally the abusive and opportunistic husband who was (as several observe in the book) the last nail in Karen's coffin.
A heartbreaking and compelling fable that reveals not just the struggles of pop star Karen Carpenter but the hidden dysfunctions of an All-American family.

c
carpentersfan2010
Sep 18, 2013

This is the definitive telling of Karen Carpenter's life story. The author had the cooperation of many of Karen's closest friends and confedantes that shed new light on this troubled woman's life and career as a singer and entertainer. In depth retellings of her battle and eventual loss to anorexia nervosa to her up-to-now untold details of a disasterous marriage that was the "final nail the coffin" for this already fragile personality. Well worth the time for anyone looking for a character study for the mental illnesses known as eating disorders.

c
chubby77girl
Oct 01, 2011

Enjoyed reading this although it could have been a bigger book. There are so many things the family were hiding.

2
22950006357453
Sep 28, 2010

poor kid never had a chance. she never develloped the inner strenght to define herself and the ability to fight for herself. a kite in the winds that are shredding her up.

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