By Georgia Holt , Phyllis Quinn, and Sue Russell.
Okay, so this book is kind of a rare, obscure find. It's written by a reporter (Russell), the president of the Motion Picture Mothers group (Quinn) and Cher's mom (Holt). It is a compilation of tons and tons and tons of moms of celebrities--and a few celebrities themselves. To list everyone involved in this would take me a loooong time. As you can see, the authors have Connections for getting a hold of these people.
The chapters and interviews are kind of grouped via themes such as stage moms, stressful childhoods, crazy moms, money, and show business. But mostly they're quickie sampler platter interviews, maybe a few pages per mom, about both how stars were born and how their moms were affected by their stardom and how the kids came to be as they were. Most of the moms are quite personable and a lot of them are quirky themselves, so some of the interviews can be very fun. And to the authors' credit, they also will cite mother-like relationships such as John Lennon's aunt (rather than his mother, who was not so good at that job). It is a fun read on that level, though after awhile you will feel like a new interview subject every other page or so for a book that's 400+ pages long is...getting to be too much after awhile. Or at least, after awhile it feels like a long read despite the short topics.
Since this was published in 1988, some of can seem downright quaint in 2014. Plus there's the awkwardness of reading about Woody Allen and Roman Polanski (his mother-in-law thought he was great....). There's a certain amount of.... I guess preciousness?...about certain awkward topics, such as stage moms. This is written through a prism of mom-ness, so to some degree there's a lot of justification going on in the interviews and in the authors' collective tone. Here's the start of the Stage Mother chapter so you'll get what I mean:"There are no Stage Mothers. By contrast, there is an ample supply of those who have heroically survived encounters with Stage Mothers, heard monstrous tales about Stage Mothers, determined never to become Stage Mothers, or taken a mighty, sneering dislike to Stage Mothers." Nobody LIKES or WANTS to be a stage mom, they just simply are....stage mothers. (Literal quote: "A Stage Mother is merely a stage mother.") It kinda smacks of This Is A Sensitive Topic, Proceed Gently. And the amounts of denial at some times....Particularly bad in its own way is the interview with Barbra Streisand's mother. God knows I've read enough biographies of Barbra to ah.... well, get the reasonable impression that she is hard to deal with. On the other hand, it's pretty clear through the fudging and denials that Barbra's home life was probably pretty hellish for her and her mother was contributing to that. Oy.
Overall, I'll give it three and a half stars. If this subject matter interests you, you'll probably enjoy it.