Little Girl Blue: the Life of Karen Carpenter

Little Girl Blue: the Life of Karen Carpenter

eBook - 2017
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Karen Carpenter was the instantly recognisable 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 over 100 million.Karen's musical career was short – only 13 years. During that time, the Carpenters released 10 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 part of Karen's story. As the world received news of her death at 32 years of age in 1983, she became the proverbial poster child for anorexia nervosa.Little Girl Blue is an intimate profile of Karen Carpenter, a girl from a modest Connecticut upbringing who became a Superstar.Based on exclusive interviews with nearly 100 friends and associates, including record producers, studio musicians, songwriters, television directors, photographers, radio personalities, classmates, childhood friends, neighbours, personal assistants, romantic interests, hairdressers, and housekeepers.'...thorough and affectionate biography of a singer who's been constantly undervalued by the music industry.' MOJO'Schmidt cannot be faulted... carefully factual, sensitively pitched book.' The Word'The first truly convincing account of her nightmarish story.' The Guardian
Publisher: Cork : Omnibus Press, 2017
ISBN: 9780857127693
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Jun 25, 2020

I don't understand the criticism for this book by some. It's well written and an easy read, finished it in two days.

Sadly Kace had a very early demise in part due to a mother who was a control freak and brother Richard shares some blame, although I feel he loved his sister immensely. Mom just doted on Richard far too much while not sharing the same kind of affection for the crazy talent that Karen had as a vocalist and as a fairly good drummer. Granted Richard made The Carpenters into what it was at its apex, a force with his musical ability, not just writing songs and the piano playing skills but the vocal arrangement and being able to write catchy songs just by hearing a few notes and a catch phrase or reworking someone else's work.

It's just sad to read a book like this knowing the person's fate, in this case, Karen the Angel, who many of us listened to in our tyke years, who IMO suffered from anorexia mainly due to her overpowering mother figure. I'm sure her mom loved her, but with her father not taking the lead and putting mom in her rightful place as cheerleader instead of power broker, killed Karen's spirit and her failed marriage was desperation to find true love. Which is crazy when this book reveals KC finding out a day before the marriage that Tom, her husband to be and soon-to-be ex, had a vasectomy which killed Karen's dreams to one day have children....but then her mom insisted she proceed with the marriage anyway cause they had a lot of guests and the press who were expected to be there. What a mom!

Jan 31, 2019

The untimely death of popular American singer, Karen Carpenter (32 at the time) in 1983 from heart failure (due to anorexia nervosa) was truly a sad, sad tragedy.

"Little Girl Blue" (written by Randy Schmidt) takes an exhaustive look back at the troubled life and turbulent times of Karen Carpenter, one of the most admired American vocalists of the mid-20th century.

This biography also includes numerous pages of photographs, as well.

Mar 22, 2018

(*Lyrics excerpt from "We've Only Just Begun") - "And when the evening comes, we smile.... So much of life ahead.... We'll find a place where there's room to grow.... And, yes - We've just begun."

Beneath that velvety-smooth, pitch-perfect singing voice and her seemingly uncomplicated public persona - Karen Carpenter definitely harboured (and struggled with) some surprisingly detrimental demons.

And one of those demons of destruction inevitably revealed itself (with such a deadly force) in the distorted shape of "Anorexia Nervosa".

Competently written by Randy Schmidt - "Little Girl Blue" is a very intimate profile of the troubled life of Karen Carpenter. It contains a 24-page photo gallery of colour and b&w stills.

*Note* - In 1983 - Karen Carpenter (32 at the time) died of heart failure.

P.S. - Be sure to watch The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" music-video.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Oct 01, 2011

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

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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