Brooke Shields never had what anyone would consider an ordinary life. Read more...
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Brooke Shields never had what anyone would consider an ordinary life. She was raised by her Newark-tough single mom, Teri, a woman who loved the world of show business and was often a media sensation all by herself. Brooke's iconic modeling career began by chance when she was only eleven months old, and Teri's skills as both Brooke's mother and manager were formidable. But in private she was troubled and drinking heavily.
As Brooke became an adult the pair made choices and sacrifices that would affect their relationship forever. And when Brooke s own daughters were born she found that her experience as a mother was shaped in every way by the woman who raised her. But despite the many ups and downs, Brooke was by Teri s side when she died in 2012, a loving daughter until the end.
Only Brooke knows the truth of the remarkable, difficult, complicated woman who was her mother. And now, in an honest, open memoir about her life growing up, Brooke will reveal stories and feelings that are relatable to anyone who has been a mother or daughter."
- ISBN-13: 9780525954842
- ISBN-10: 0525954848
- Publisher: E P Dutton
- Publish Date: November 2014
- Page Count: 401
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Shields was prompted by the death of her mother, Teri, in 2012, at age 79, to do some defensive soul-searching about their complicated, interdependent relationship. In this conversational, limpid effort, the actress and former model traces her mother’s life—starting with Teri’s working-class Newark, N.J., upbringing and distant parents—as well as her own. As a beautiful, lively young woman working at odd jobs in New York City, Teri met and briefly married a well-connected scion of Italian aristocrats who was eight years her junior; their only child, Brooke, was born in 1965. From her first modeling job for Ivory soap as a toddler to her heyday as the poster girl for Calvin Klein, Shields, with her distinctive “European look,” let her mother make decisions for her, without much thought to a “career” but with an eye to money and trips they took together. Some of those decisions were highly criticized, such as her starring at age 11 as a prostitute in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby. Shields admits to feeling “abandoned” when her mother drank, and eventually the actress found some independence by attending Princeton. Some degree of self-awareness emerges, though Shields’s prose is lackluster. (Nov.)
A complicated mother-daughter relationship
For women of a certain age, Brooke Shields was our more perfect sister. In 1980, I didn’t understand what “nothing comes between me and my Calvins” meant any more than Brooke herself did. But I knew I needed a pair of those jeans.
Central to the Brooke Shields mystique was her mother, Teri Shields, who became the focus of nasty speculation after allowing 12-year-old Brooke to be cast as a child prostitute in the 1978 film Pretty Baby. In fact, the motivation for Brooke to write her new memoir was the character-assassinating obituary the New York Times published on Teri after her death in 2012.
There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me offers readers Brooke’s own perspective on this complicated and co-dependent relationship. Teri’s alcoholism and its effects on her only child form the nucleus of the story. From an early age, Brooke felt responsible for tending to her mother’s emotional needs, rather than the other way around. This story of Brooke’s career as a model and actress unfolds from the perspective of an adult child of an alcoholic.
Her voice in this memoir is unguarded and raw and deals head-on with the damage alcohol causes in intimate relationships. For a celebrity of her stature to write so honestly and intelligently about emotional wounds is a refreshing change.
The book will appeal not only to Shields fans, but also to readers who seek out memoirs about surviving dysfunctional families. Brooke Shields is still our sister, just more real and imperfect.