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Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter [Paperback]

L. Randy Schmidt
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.95
Price: 10.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Mar 2012
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; 2nd edition edition (14 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780381492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780381497
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

' - 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

About the Author

Randy L. Schmidt teaches music in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He compiled and edited Yesterday Once More: Memories of the Carpenters and Their Music and served as creative consultant for several television documentaries on the Carpenters, including E!'s True Hollywood Story, A&E's Biography, and VH1's Behind the Music.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This biography of Karen Carpenter has the ability to make you laugh, make you want to cry and make you angry all at the same time. If you thought you knew Karen's life story (and I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was what) read this book and you will find that you probably didn't. In Randy Schmidt's brilliantly written book he talks to many of Karen's friends and reveals things that were simply jaw-dropping.

For example I knew that Karen's mother, Agnes, was a difficult and rather controlling person, but I had no idea of the extent to which she made her daughter's life so utterly miserable. It's well known that Karen's marriage to Tom Burris didn't last, but what I certainly didn't know until I read this book was that Karen tried to call the wedding off when she learnt something about the man she was marrying that changed everything. Agnes Carpenter wouldn't hear of the wedding being cancelled: "The invitations have gone out.....People magazine is going to be there.....you will walk down that aisle." Mrs Carpenter said.

It's hard to believe how a mother of someone with Karen's history could be so cruel and it's devastating that Karen couldn't stand up to such a person.

When you also consider that Karen's brother Richard had it in him to be just like his mother and her father wouldn't say boo to a goose, it's not at all surprising that Karen had so many struggles.

This book left me feeling that Karen was an unplanned and accidental pregnancy and was resented by her mother from 'Day One'. Resented for being born at all and resented for having a singing voice that got her far more public attention than anything her brother could do.

If it wasn't for the few close friends that were truly on her side, Karen's tragically all too short life might have been even shorter.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Of The World !!!!!!! 16 April 2012
Format:Paperback
To the outside world Karen Carpenter had it all. Fame, good looks, Grammy Awards, and the velvet voice that we all fell in love with on such classics as `Close To You', `Top of the World',' We've Only Just Begun' and `Yesterday Once More'. But beneath that glossy exterior lay a harrowing tale of sadness, deceit, lack of motherly love, and the tragic death of a wonderful singer at the young age of 32.
In `Little Girl Blue - The Life of Karen Carpenter', author Randy L Schmidt lifts the lid on what really happened, by gathering up all the facts through numerous detailed interviews with family, friends, and lovers.
From her early days growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, through her career with The Carpenters to her death in the early 80s, it's all covered here, with some fascinating revelations sprinkled throughout.
All Karen wanted to do was be a drummer, but her brother Richard wanted the fame, and knew Karen was the star of the show. Her mother Agnes doted on Richard (the older of the two children) and got him Piano lesson, and insisted on moving to California (against Karen's wishes) so Richard had a better chance of becoming a star.
Indeed, throughout the book Schmidt paints Agnes as the wicked witch and it's easy to see why. When Karen was offered a solo record deal, her mother insisted they also hire her precious son (which they did, as a songwriter just to keep her happy) as she wasn't impressed that her golden boy was being overlooked.
Later when Karen found out that her fiancé was deceitful, she wanted to call off her wedding, but her mother insisted it would go ahead because.... "the invitations have gone out...there are reporters and photographers coming.... the wedding is on and you will walk down that aisle".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read 21 Oct 2013
By Benny
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very sad that a bright star burned out too soon. Their music has stood the test oof time. Great read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 14 Oct 2013
By doug
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book very well written, would recommend if you are a karen carpenter fan, very truthful, honest ,and evidence to back up the facts
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book seems to say it all. 29 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very insightful book. Suddenly it all adds up.
Such a shame she didn't get the kind of help that can be found today.
She had a lot more music to give the world. A heck of a lot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Compelling Reading 29 Mar 2014
By MsMoose
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having bought this book over six months ago, I finally found the time to sit down and read it and once I started, I could not put it down. This is gripping reading and the author L. Randy Schmidt knows how to keep the reader engaged. I first discovered the music of The Carpenters in the early 90’s when the film The Karen Carpenter Story was shown on British TV. I was a stroppy teen who did not have a TV in her bedroom, and my parents politely informed me they were going to watch this film, if I did not want to I could go to bed... Having a stroppy teenage mood I sulked as the film started, but as the end credits rolled, I had tears in my eyes... a movie I thought was going to be boring turned out to be poignant viewing. Yes I had suddenly discovered The Carpenters, and my mother rooted out an LP the one entitled Singles 1969 – 1973, I dusted off the brown looking cover and became mesmerised playing this amazing voice in me bedroom, even converting it to a cassette so I could listen to this fabulous music on my walkman going to school!

This book is a must have read for anyone who is a fan of the sound of Karen Carpenter, it delves into her personal life and the struggles that only those close to her saw, she had a way of hiding her troubles and emotional ups and downs from the press and TV camera. It is true to say that Karen only wanted to be accepted by those closest to her, she strived for perfection, and love, her control was food and her weight. I could very much relate to the book especially with her need for love and control over food having been someone who is battling Borderline Personality Disorder and who has dealt with a Binge Eating Disorder and weight issues for over 20 years – much brought on through emotional issues as a child and teenager.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent book a must for all carpenter fans
Published 7 days ago by helen smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Detailed biography
If you're interested in the small details you'll love this
Karen was such a unique person and was beautiful inside and out
She deserved a husband and kids. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Daniel Rea
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad waste of an Angel voice
All this lady wanted was to be loved,
I could not put this book down all about a hard working Lady who loved to sing.
Such a sad loss.
Published 4 months ago by Fred
4.0 out of 5 stars Life for Karen KC
Very well written with a good insight to her life with her family and on the road as a performer. Sadness and a true appreciation for her wonderful talent - gone too soon
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. W
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
As per most pop biographies this is not very well written and quite journalistic in style. Doesn't really say any more than we already know, but quite interesting read.
Published 8 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is a really interesting insight into the life of Karen Carpenter who is not only a fantastic singer, but also a very talented drummer. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Emma Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Perfect book following the ups and downs of a legend whose life was cut short so cruely. A must have read for any Carpenter follower. Their music lives on...!!!
Published 14 months ago by Catherine Rothera
5.0 out of 5 stars Little girl blue
Reading is not my thing really, however I could not put this book down. It is fantastic, it made laugh, and at times really tearful. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Kalle Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Candle in the wind
This is a warts and all account of Karen"s short and limited life. It is profoundly sad that she never recognised her own talents and gifts. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Carolyn Webster
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