I was lucky enough to get this book at BEA in June - and I actually also met the author, Melissa Francis.
TITLE: Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter
AUTHOR: Melissa Francis
In order to better prepare myself for BEA, I always get a list of those author who will be attending, as well as the books that will be featured and Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter was always at the top of my "must have" list. Why? because I love all things diary. In fact, I had no idea that this book was written by someone who had appeared on Little House on the Prairie until I got in line to get the book (signed by Melissa Francis) and was told who she was. MY BAD!
By the time Little House on the Prairie was in full swing, I was just starting to work full time and really had not much interest in the show. However, over the years, I have read Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Anderson's books so this was a nice addition. Kind of interesting since I was never a huge fan - but, as I said, I could not resist the "Diary" part of this title LOL.
Having said all of this, I can honestly say that this was one of THE best memoirs (celebrity) or otherwise that I have ever read. Melissa Francis was incredibly honest, direct and always, always entertaining with her writing.
She starts off by telling us about her life as a young child and manages to balance just the right amount of information - so that it does not get bogged down in boring detail (as so many other memoirs do when it comes to the "younger' days). Additionally, Melissa does a wonderful job setting the stage (excuse the pun) for the "scenes" her mother has done and will continue to do throughout the course of this book.
It is always interesting to me to think about how you can be watching a young tv performer "do their" thing in their roles, all the while not knowing that the real drama in their lives is being played out behind the scenes and this was certainly the case with Melissa Francis.
Her descriptions of her experiences on the set are great, but what really worked were the contrasts she was living during her days on TV and her life with her mother (and the rest of her family).
I loved, loved this memoir - run to read it.