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February 13, 2013

Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter Book Review

Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter
A Memoir
By Melissa Francis
Published by Weinstein Books
Hardcover: 304 pages
November 6, 2012; $26.00 US/ $29.00 CAN; 9781602861725
When Melissa, an anchor on the FOX Business Network program "MONEY with Melissa Francis,” was eight years old, she won the role of a lifetime: Playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the little girl on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.   

The life of a child star in the 1980s appeared to be charmed. However, in her memoir, Melissa tells the startling tale of a family under the care of a highly neurotic and dangerously competitive “tiger mother.” While Melissa thrived under pressure, her older sister -- who had tried her hand at acting and shrank from the limelight -- was often ignored by their mother in a shadow of neglect and disappointment.   

It wasn’t until after Melissa had graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics, found love, and married that her sister’s personal problems culminated in a life-and-death crisis. When Melissa realized the role her mother continued to play in her sister’s downward spiral, she resolved to end the manic, abusive cycle once and for all.   

Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter can best be described as The Glass Castle meets Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In fact this book began as Melissa’s answer to Tiger Mother, but evolved into something much more. A dazzlingly honest and provocative family memoir, it is also a meditation on motherhood. She asks the questions so many of us ask ourselves: how hard should you push a child to succeed, and at what point does your help turn into harm?   

Now the mother of two young children, Melissa knows from personal experience that the key to raising happy, confident and successful children is to respect each child for who they are, and avoid the one size fits all, pressure-packed approach. 

My review:
This is a story told from Melissa's perspective. Though she was a young actress on Little House on the Prairie, there were only a few pages that covers that period of her life. The book is primary about her life under the pressure her mother placed on her. I thought the book was very interesting and it was a very easy read too. I like reading about the Melissa's auditions. But what I like even more was her candid, honest description of her life growing up. It was clearly very difficult for her to grow up with an abusive mother. I love that despite all of the problems she had with her mother, Melissa was able to overcome it all to become such a successful woman.

This is a wonderful story. To buy a copy of it for yourself, please visit Amazon.com.

*I received a free product (or products) for review purposes. I did not receive any form of compensation from the company. All opinions are my own and not influenced in anyway. My reviews are not always positive, but they are my personal and honest opinions. Other people's views and experiences with the product or products might be different from mine.  


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