The 2018 Jeez Louise Award Barely 2 stars for the writing but 4 stars in a fascinating character study of Christina Crawford !! Christina Crawford was a celebrity poster child for alleged abuse done to her and siblings by film actress Joan Crawford who was her adoptive mother. I found the character study of Christina as she writes about her life fascinating. Mommie dearest has to punish bad babies...mommie dearest doesn't want to have anything more to do with bad babies...mommie dearest put bad babies away from her....mommie dearest found a prison for bad babies and locked them up to punish them for being such bad babies...." In fact, Christina Crawford comes across as an eleven year old throughout the book and her emotional immaturity is both her charm and a great cause of her difficulties with both herself and society in general. Joan Crawford was one of the stars in one of my favorite movies with her nemesis Bette Davis and here is a brief clip of that film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=648-2...
Not because people didnt like the book. The book may not have been a challenge to read, but nonetheles it was good storytelling.
With that being said,there are several contradictory statements in Christina Crawford's story. It is a tell all from Joan Crawford's eldest adopted child, Christina. Christina speaks in depth about her mother's strict discipline which included: harsh chores, seclusion, and "being nearly beaten to death." Does anyone remember the cult classic movie "Mommie Dearest?" "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!" So Christina tells of this tale about how she suffered at the hands of her mother, who forced Christina to address her as "Mommie Dearest." Some of the incongruous statements by Christina: 1) Her mother ALWAYS made her wear white gloves when she goes out in public; as written in the story and listed under one picture of her wearing white gloves. She claims Joan Crawford was jealous of her (Christina's) acting career. for reasons known to them." Christina says in her book that "the money would have been nice... 2) The two younger siblings and later even her brother, Christopher (who Christina said also suffered abuse), spoke out against the book. I suspect it is because Joan Crawford was the one who offered Christina the opportunities to meet with people that would further her career. However, I also believe that Christina Crawford was a spoiled, selfish child.
Written by a grown woman, the first of Joan Crawford's adopted children, the book reads like one big whine-a** 13yr old journal entry. The book was clearly written to rip apart her adopted mother's hard earned image and reputation as revenge for not inheriting a fortune she did nothing to earn.
The emotional manipulation especially -- the child constantly reaching, constantly feeling that if she does one more thing or something a little better that longed-for love and acceptance from mom will finally come, and the shattering that occurs when one realizes it never will. The most ironic thing is that Christina is obviously just the flip side of her mother. Joan obviously thought of herself as the long suffering, martyred, giving mother who got no gratitude from her evil, selfish, ungrateful child. And Christina so obviously sees HERSELF as the long suffering, martyred, giving child who got no gratitude from her evil, selfish, ungrateful mother.
What amazed me the most about this book was that Christina still came across as loving her mother very much even after enduring horrific abuse.
It's harder to take the real abuse seriously when the author is complaining about every single thing her mother ever said and did for the duration of her life. Also, the love that Christina claims to have for her mother feels extremely phony, which just makes it harder to read.
As an adult, who loves bios of old Hollywood, I don't know why it took me a while to actually read the book, but I just did and I enjoyed (? It delved deeper into Joan Crawford and Christina, the abuse, the alcoholism, the dynamic and dependance each of them had, and the power Joan held over her daughter throughout her whole life; one that she described as suffocating and strangeling. I don't doubt that she mistreated her children but there are so many conflicting stories, and I felt that some of the things in the book didn't really add up (largely - if Christina grew up abused and under such duress due to her abusive mother - which she was seemingly aware of enough to write a book about it - HOW were they so close and loving for so many years when Christina was an independant adult? She was smart enough to know and understand what she had been through, she was no longer dependant on her mother, and yet she wrote a fairly loving account of their later years together?).