You are about to meet an extraordinary young woman, Carrie Hamilton. Read more...
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You are about to meet an extraordinary young woman, Carrie Hamilton. The daughter of one of television's most recognizable and beloved stars, Carol Burnett, Carrie won the hearts of everyone she met with her kindness, quirky sense of humor, and wonderfully unconventional approach to life. Living in the spotlight of celebrity, but in an era when personal troubles were kept private, Carrie and Carol made a brave display of honesty and love by going public with teenager Carrie's drug addiction and recovery. Carrie lived her adult life of sobriety to the fullest, enjoying happy and determined independence and achieving a successful artistic career as an actress, writer, musician, and director. Carrie's passion for life and her humorist's view of the world never wavered as she aggressively battled cancer. Carrie died at the age of 38.
"Carrie and Me" is Carol Burnett's poignant tribute to her late daughter and a funny and moving memoir about mothering an extraordinary young woman through the struggles and triumphs of her life. Sharing her personal diary entries, photographs, and correspondence, Carol traces the journey she and Carrie took through some of life's toughest challenges and sweetest miracles. Authentic, intimate, and full of love, "Carrie and Me" is a story of hope and joy that only a mother could write.
- ISBN-13: 9781476706412
- ISBN-10: 1476706417
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publish Date: April 2013
- Page Count: 205
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-01-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Born in 1963, Burnett’s eldest daughter, Carrie Hamilton, was an actress and playwright beginning to establish a name for herself when she died of lung cancer at age 38, in January 2002. In this nostalgic look back at Hamilton’s short life and last work-in-progress, Burnett (One More Time) portrays a loving daughter who was nonetheless difficult during her adolescent years when she was abusing drugs heavily and spent several stints in rehab, before emerging as a gifted actress who landed a plum role as Maureen in the national tour of Rent. Burnett inserts into her chronological narrative excerpts from her own diary entries, for example during the fraught time when she and her then husband, Joe Hamilton, were beginning to suspect that their 15-year-old daughter was on drugs, and later e-mails and faxes exchanged between mother and daughter over her last years, when Hamilton was living in an isolated cabin by herself in Gunnison, Colo., and sending periodic installments to a story she was writing. “Sunrise in Memphis” related a whimsical road trip to Graceland, Tenn., by the 23-year-old hard-drinking Kate and a sweet, gentlemanly cowboy called F.M.; the story prompted Hamilton to take off on a real-life road trip through the South, sending impressionistic dispatches to Burnett. “Sunrise in Memphis” remained unfinished, but appears at the end of this poignant, piecemeal work. (Apr.)
A mother's gifts last a lifetime
How do you approach Mother’s Day? With reverence and joy, or sorrow and trepidation? Are you fulfilled, exhausted or both from being a dutiful child or caretaking parent? No matter what your emotions, these engrossing books about mothers, children and parenting are bound to speak to you.
Particularly wonderful is a collection gathered by Elizabeth Benedict, What My Mother Gave Me. Benedict, who had a trying, distant relationship with her mother, found herself surprised by the intense feelings she had about a long woolen scarf her mother gave her in the last years of her life. She began to wonder: “If this one gift meant so much to me, if it unlocked the door to so much history and such complicated feelings, might other women have such a gift themselves?”
Indeed they do, and their answers come to life in stories from such writers as Ann Hood, Mary Gordon, Elinor Lipman and Mameve Medwed. Lisa See’s mother taught her to pen “a thousand words a day and one charming note,” a work ethic that involves writing steadily and aiming high. Joyce Carol Oates describes the first days of her widowhood, when she wrapped herself in a rainbow-colored quilt made by her late mother. The quilt became “a sign of how love endures in the most elemental and comforting ways.” And Emma Straub ponders gifts less tangible, such as tickets for a rainy, rather miserable but memorable cruise around a Wisconsin lake. Straub writes: “My own happiness during every terrible minute of the Betty Lou Cruise came from knowing that when it ended, I would get to tell [my mother] about it.”
BIG FAT GREEK LOVE
For some, the road to motherhood can be fraught with formidable roadblocks, as was the case for actress Nia Vardalos, the famed actress and writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She tells her story in Instant Mom, which is as compelling, witty and wonderful as her now-classic movie about Greek family life. While Vardalos filmed the movie, went on press tours and was eventually nominated for an Oscar, she was desperately enduring a series of fertility treatments and heartbreaking miscarriages. Her dream of becoming a mother was finally fulfilled in 2008 when she and her husband became the unimaginably proud parents of a 3-year-old daughter that they adopted via the foster-care system. “After years of praying to be parents,” Vardalos says, “this little miracle simply appeared.”
The first few months involved exhausting efforts by all to acclimate and build trust, and Vardalos never sugarcoats the details, though she always buffers them with her and her husband’s complete joy and adoration of their headstrong, vivacious little girl. Vardalos brings readers along for a delightful ride as she navigates the toddler and preschool years, ending the story with a helpful question-and-answer section about the adoptive process. Her goal is to educate her readers about adoption, and she achieves it in an endlessly entertaining fashion.
Comedian Carol Burnett also has a powerful mothering story to share. Like many, I grew up watching “The Carol Burnett Show” and still grin at the thought of her Tarzan yell and the unflappable Mrs. Wiggins. Now Burnett bares her soul in her touching memoir, Carrie and Me.
Carrie Hamilton was the oldest of Burnett’s three daughters, a young woman who shared both her mother’s looks and her wide-ranging talent as an actress and singer. Burnett highlights the great triumphs and tragedies of her beloved daughter’s life, filling in details with stories, diary entries and letters. The pair went public in 1979 about Carrie’s adolescent struggle with drugs and alcohol—a multi-year battle from which she ultimately emerged victorious. Mother and daughter later collaborated on a play about Carol’s early life, and the adult Carrie lived in a Colorado cabin while writing a story called “Sunrise in Memphis,” which is included in the book.
Sadly, Carrie’s bold spirit and artistic talent were cut short by lung cancer in 2002. Carol and Carrie were lucky to have each other, and their ironclad bond shines through in this short but sweet memoir.
A LIFE RENEWED
Like Nia Vardalos, Glennon Doyle Melton became something of an instant mom, but in a very different way. On Mother’s Day 2002, this unwed 26-year-old was shocked to discover she was pregnant. What’s more, she was battling bulimia, alcohol and drug addiction. Happily, her life of struggle has become one of triumph, which she describes in Carry On, Warrior.
Becoming a wife and mother was a turning point for Melton, who is now the mother of three and the successful creator of the blog Momastery.com, some essays from which are collected here. She calls herself a “reckless truth teller,” and like Anne Lamott (one of her favorite writers), Melton has dedicated her life not only to her family but to religious faith and humor. She explains that once her husband and first child entered her life, she realized, “If two such good, kind, full people needed and wanted and loved me, could I really be so worthless? Suddenly, it seemed that there might be parts of life that were beautiful and good and meant for ME.”
All four of these books will make readers laugh and cry in recognition, and think more deeply about their own roots and relationships.