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Mommie Dearest

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  6,422 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
With the 20th Anniversary Edition of Mommie Dearest, Christina Crawford becomes one of the only authors in publishing history to re-issue a number one best-seller. "The new edition is published as I intended it. More than 100 pages - mostly that delve into my adult relationship with Mother - that were left out of the original version are back in," said Ms. Crawford. "I've ...more
Paperback, 327 pages
Published November 1st 1981 by Berkley Books (first published January 1st 1978)
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Popular Answered Questions

Heather Hare I'm not sure I understand this question as it was meant, but I'll give it a try anyway:
Although Joan is said to have abused alcohol and at times…more
I'm not sure I understand this question as it was meant, but I'll give it a try anyway:
Although Joan is said to have abused alcohol and at times other substances this story is not focused on drug addiction or substance abuse, no. - These are Christina Crawford's accounts about her movie star mother Joan and her abusive upbringing by said mother, who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder.
Something which is not stated in this book/by Christina Crawford herself but has been the subject of many other papers and books such as "Understanding the Borderline Mother" by Christine Ann Lawson for example.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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kisha
Ok reading the reviews had me so upset. Not because people didnt like the book. Thats a matter of preference. But because the nerve of some people to choose sides as if they know either parties. That concerns me. People are abused everyday and they have so much support, but the second someone is abused by someone rich, famous, and beautiful; everyone wants to debate it and take the side of the popular. I dont know if Christina is telling the whole truth about her childhoold. But even if she ...more
Kimberly Rahi
Jan 04, 2013 Kimberly Rahi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
JoanCrawford

First let me start off by saying that I do not under any circumstances condone child abuse. With that being said,there are several contradictory statements in Christina Crawford's story.

For those unfamiliar with this book. 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
Rebecca McNutt
Joan Crawford, one of the world's most famous actresses, has never come across to me as abusive or cruel, at least not in any of the films I've watched or interviews she's done in videos and magazines. I can't say that she certainly wasn't cruel to her child because I wasn't there to witness any of it, but from reading this book, which is full of inconsistencies, repetitive moments of self-pity and a style that evokes feelings of a horror novel rather than a memoir, I can definitely say that ...more
MAP
Dec 07, 2009 MAP rated it liked it
What a ride! This book is completely insane. Which doesn't mean I don't believe Christina. I do. I have friends whose parents are drunks and I have friends whose parents are just plain nuts. This kind of crap really does happen. 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 ...more
Colleen
Nov 06, 2008 Colleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love crybaby stories
Recommended to Colleen by: No one
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. Christina Crawford complains about how her mean mommie had loads of cash and didn't spoil her and her equally bratty brother, Chistopher, even more rotten than they already were. Funny how out of four adopted children growing up in the same house, two were bitter and two have happy memories of their childhood. I read this with an objective eye, what I saw was ...more
Jackie
May 01, 2011 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book taught me to never, ever, use wire hangers! o.O

I believe Christina's story. She was emotionally and physically abused by Joan Crawford. No doubt in my mind. The only reason Joan's twin daughters didn't talk was because they had "hush" money.

SurvivorSurvivor No Safe Place: The Legacy of Family Violence
Ronda
Jun 24, 2009 Ronda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
I grew up watching the Joan Crawford movies, my parents were fans. When I saw this book out, I had to snap it up and read it.

It was a very good book even if the content was not only surprising but upsetting.

To know a child has been abused and not much was done to help her is sad.

To know someone is such a well respected woman and is doing the abusing and getting away with it, got away with it, was/is criminal.

I'm glad Christina wrote the book so all could see the truth about her mother. I hope it
...more
Nicole
Good movie, not so good book.

I don't doubt that even some of the more severe abuse took place, but that really isn't the issue. The real abuse is buried under chapters and chapters of boring whining. 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.

At one point she says her mother is treating her brother "hatefully" because he isn't allowed to trample the flowers in the flower beds while
...more
Hester
Joan Crawford like many stars of her day had a carefully crafted image. I don't doubt much of this book, especially while reading "Not The Girl Nextdoor". 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. Most children who are abused still love their parents which is something that puzzles me. I can understand the anger and outrage Joan's public felt after this unflattering portrayl was released, Joan ...more
Meichler
May 31, 2012 Meichler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in the 80's and was irrationally obsessed with the movie Mommie Dearest; to this day, if I see it on TV, I have to stop what I'm doing and watch. Why the obsession about a pretty tragic story of a little girl who was abused? I have no idea, but I know I'm not alone.

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 (? - not sure if that's the right word) it. It delved deeper into Joan Crawford and Ch
...more
Liz


Some great scenes in this book that show Joanie to be the crazy broad we all hope she actually was. However in a good chunk of the book Christina Darling bores us with her 'acting' career and life. However she did come up with more gems than Bette Davis's daughter.....Bette was mainly just scathing and difficult.

I saw the movie before I read the book so in my mind Faye Dunaway is Crazy ol' Joan. But if you only want to read the book or watch the movie, watch the movie. The movie compacts all the
...more
Rebecca  Porter
May 01, 2013 Rebecca Porter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: assorted
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Giddens
Mar 10, 2013 Jim Giddens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, memoir
Narrative nonfiction, biography of Joan Crawford, autobiography of Christina Crawford, exposé of the dysfunctional family life of a famous person. This book also accounts the death of Joan Crawford as well as the three memorial services held for her family, her business associates, and her movie and television associates.

"From her throne in the eye of the hurricane, brandishing her wand of obsession, rules the queen of chaos herself: Mommie Dearest." Christina Crawford tells of the dysfunctional
...more
Regan
Oct 18, 2010 Regan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd watched the movie several times and honestly, I laughed at most of the over the top scenes. The whole issue of child abuse was lost on me in the movie. When Joan Crawford lays into Christina over the wire hangers I tried to figure how an 8 year old got a hold of wire hangers. It wasn't like she could run to the store and buy them.

the book clarifies that -- they came from the cleaners that way. Other scenes that came across as humorous and turned the movie Mommie Dearest into a cult classic m
...more
Vicki
A vicious story of an unhinged adoptive mother. She was also a highly admired star of her day. The story was written by her adopted daughter Christina and it paints a very abusive picture. The pain that the book shared was a terrible situation for these little children to be caught up in. There were midnight raids on the closets to check for wire coat hangers. It was a nerve wracking read.

Joan Crawford was depicted as a woman that wanted to have a perfect image for the news and magazines, but k
...more
V
Jun 01, 2014 V marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition




Obligatory.
Olivia
May 15, 2015 Olivia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had a friend who adored the movie so I decided to read the book. I'm a big fan of old Hollywood but I do not like Joan Crawford. I don't think she was pretty, talented, or even that good of a person so I thought I'd like this book. However it was nothing but TRASH.
This girl is just complaining about ridiculous things. For example:

- Fans would send her oodles of presents for Christmas and Joan would let her keep one and donate the others. She complains about that. Joan was trying not to have h
...more
Karen
Mar 01, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was awesome...definitely a HUGE insight to Ms Joan Crawford..I'd been searching for an affordable copy of this book for 3 years through my local trade in bookstore...my friend happened to find it before me & was kind enough to let me read it first.
The movie, follows pretty closely to book...with exceptions to the extra children that were left out of movie.
I think Ms Joan Crawford was an interesting and savvy business woman but she also had a lot of personal demons that she carrie
...more
Christine
Jun 15, 2015 Christine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
As far as memoir writing goes, Mommie Dearest isn't terribly strong. I do think that Crawford was able to get her experience on paper and that this was probably therapeutic to finally share her truth. I also think she captures the constant struggle between seeking a mother's love while also hating her and enduring her abuse. And the abuse she endures is overwhelming.

That being said, I don't find her writing style very strong. She jumps around, repeats, and is often so enmeshed in her mother's h
...more
Kim
Apr 30, 2008 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why did I reread this stinker? Because I wanted to read Christina Crawford's book Survivor, but this was all they had at the library. I could not be more sympathetic toward the author (or anyone with a schizophrenogenic parent or who experienced abuse of any kind as a child). However, this book is bad. I'm kind of thinking never mind about reading Survivor.
Autumn Lamkin
Bitter much? lol
Alexander
Oct 14, 2011 Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of celebrity tell-alls, shocking novels, family dynamics books, and "The Valley of the Dolls"
Ok, so where do I begin? First, this book is not just some gossip-queen purely-for-entertainment trash novel a la Valley of the Dolls (which happens to be a favorite of mine also). Sure, the book is full of stories of mental, verbal, and physical abuse, raging alcoholism, bipolar obsessive compulsion, and even allegations of lesbianism. But one of the best facets of the book is that it is also somewhat of a psychological novel. Christina goes through great pains not only describing the events ...more
Diana Long
Jan 11, 2015 Diana Long rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book was written by the daughter of Joan Crawford, a Hollywood icon of a past era who will be remembered as one of the greatest actresses of the early days of motion pictures. The author Christina Crawford paints a dark picture of the private life of her mother, her abuses of alcohol, abuses of her two older children especially Christina, her obsessions with cleanliness and order, her many lovers, her horrific mood swings and everything else not normally shared with the public. I am not ...more
Julian
Nov 18, 2015 Julian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I believe that Christina Crawford is telling the whole truth in this book about her famous Mother, Joan Crawford! I was an abused child, physically, mentally, psychologically and I had almost the same feelings as Christina and some of the weirdest punishments that I've ever heard of! This lady knows what she is talking about! I can't believe all of you doubters out there - ignore the problem and it will just go away? No, it doesn't go away for us that have been abused - I'm 70 now and after ...more
Jennifer
Jul 13, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Obviously, a lot has been said about this book and consequently many have weighed in and chosen sides. It's difficult to judge the veracity of Christina's heartbreaking story since so many others have disputed it. In fact, I have read other Crawford biographies whose authors directly attack Christina for defaming her ultra glamorous, Oscar-winning mother.

It seems all that can be said for certain is that mother and daughter had, at the very least, a troubled relationship and one can readily belie
...more
William
Nov 08, 2011 William rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I had somehow never gotten around to reading a book that I knew was an "icon" in the genre it seemed to create (the grown-child-tell-all-about-abuse-from-mom-or-dad book). Some scattered moments of great narrative (e.g., opening chapter at the funeral home, description of "night raids," etc.) mixed in with less inspired writing -- but always a compelling tale. Even if it is true (but yet unproven) that Christina Crawford embellished the story (as she is accused), this recounting of parental ...more
Sofina Khan
Sep 21, 2013 Sofina Khan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an excellent book. Joan Crawford's irrational, voilent behaviour often times reminded me of my best friends mom. It was alarming how many similarities there were between Joan and my friends mother. I also read a mirror image of Christina's personality and my friends. This type of abuse DOES exist. There are SICK people in the world and I don't doubt Christina for one bit. The events and experiences you endure as a child play a pivotal role in the adult you become.
Ginnie Grant
There has been much debate on the validity of Christina Crawford's abuse claims, with her sisters even speaking out aganist it. But Christina even stated in the book that she and her brother were treated very differently than the little twins. weither it's true or not the book will still Hold you spellbound for several hours. Fans of VC Andrews flowers in the attic will find this book compelling.
Holli
Jun 16, 2008 Holli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My mom had this book on her bookshelf when I was little and at 10 I took it down and read it. Good god.....never again did I tell my mom she was mean or my life was bad!! Every kid should at some point read this and see what this poor little girl endured. And I know she wasn't the only one with a parent like this. This book stayed with me all my life......
Sunsette
Oct 06, 2011 Sunsette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the ugly truth behind the face of a beautiful actress, as seen through the eyes of her oldest, adopted daughter. I thought it was great. Christina Crawford struggled most of her life to win the approval of the impossible Joan Crawford. There is a lot of love and a lot of pain planted within the pages of this book.
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The book or the film? 1 14 Nov 27, 2012 02:29PM  
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Christina Crawford (born June 11, 1939) is an American writer and actress, best known as the author of Mommie Dearest, an autobiographical account of alleged child abuse by her adoptive mother, famous Hollywood actress Joan Crawford. She is also known for small roles in various television and film projects, such as Joan Borman Kane in the soap opera The Secret Storm and Monica George in the Elvis ...more
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