February 21, 2018

Diary of Stage Mother’s Daugther by

Disclaimer: MPR was not paid for this post. Products received are for review purposes only. Opinions are MPR’s only.

As a kid I watched the reruns of Little House on the Prairie almost every day. I loved reading the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I adored the series created by Michael Landon.  Melissa Francis, who played Cassandra on the series, has written a book Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir ($26) about her time on Little House but mainly her childhood. A childhood punctuated by highs and some intense lows brought on by living in a home with neurotic, competitive mother.

This isn’t the easiest book to read.  As a mother I could sometimes understand the desire Melissa’s mother had to see her daughter’s be the best they could be and work with the gifts they possessed but that’s where it ended. The pressure, disappointment and neglect that Melissa and her sister suffered through, especially in their teen years was hard to read and stomach, and I’m a fan of ‘Mommie Dearest’.

The upside is that ultimately this is a story of triumph.  Melissa beat the odds and found resolve to move forward with her life, graduating from Harvard (this story alone is worth a read), found love and married.  She has a successful career as an anchor on the Fox Money Network and has ended the cycle of abuse in her life.  This is an honest memoir that asks many questions about motherhood including, “how hard would you push your child to succeed?”
I enjoyed reading this book.  It was a great look at the inner workings of Hollywood and child actors and Melissa’s time spent on the set of ‘Little House’ while offering a darker but equally riveting look at what really can go on behind closed doors.  The idea that no matter how good something or someone may look on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean everything is golden.
MPR Rating: Four Stars.
You can purchase Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter on Amazon.*
*affiliate link.