When Melissa, an anchor on the FOX Business Network program “MONEY with Melissa Francis,” was eight years old, she won the role of a lifetime: Playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the little girl on the world’s most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.
The life of a child star in the 1980s appeared to be charmed. However, in her memoir, Melissa tells the startling tale of a family under the care of a highly neurotic and dangerously competitive “tiger mother.” While Melissa thrived under pressure, her older sister — who had tried her hand at acting and shrank from the limelight — was often ignored by their mother in a shadow of neglect and disappointment.
It wasn’t until after Melissa had graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics, found love, and married that her sister’s personal problems culminated in a life-and-death crisis. When Melissa realized the role her mother continued to play in her sister’s downward spiral, she resolved to end the manic, abusive cycle once and for all.
Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter can best be described as The Glass Castle meets Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In fact this book began as Melissa’s answer to Tiger Mother, but evolved into something much more. A dazzlingly honest and provocative family memoir, it is also a meditation on motherhood. She asks the questions so many of us ask ourselves: how hard should you push a child to succeed, and at what point does your help turn into harm?
Now the mother of two young children, Melissa knows from personal experience that the key to raising happy, confident and successful children is to respect each child for who they are, and avoid the one size fits all, pressure-packed approach.
I haven’t read a book over 300 pages in a long time but I am certainly glad I made the time for this book! Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter was a fascinating book about the somewhat secret life of Melissa Francis. Even though I did not grow up watching Little House on the Prairie, I have seen several episodes and knew who Cassandra was and will never look at her the same again! Several of the stories Melissa related were absolutely heartbreaking. Every time I would finish reading about one of the horrible things Melissa went through involving her mother, it made me vow to be a better mother to my kids! I have made a conscious effort to pay better attention to each of my daughter’s needs and appreciate their differences. The way Melissa recounts the stories of her childhood made this book very hard to put down! There was so much detail, I almost felt like I was a close friend of hers by the end! It is refreshing and encouraging to see that Melissa was able to weather so many storms and come out on top in the end. She is now an inspiration to every mother who may be struggling with similar issues. I would recommend Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter to any mother looking for an inspiring and interesting book to read.
Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter can be purchased on Amazon for $26. It is 304 pages long and published by Weinstein Books.
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Disclosure: I received Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter Book in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other manner. The opinions expressed above are my own and any claims should be verified on the sponsor’s site.