The Carpenters: The Untold Story : An Authorized Biography

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9780060925864: The Carpenters: The Untold Story : An Authorized Biography

Music journalist Coleman, the author of Lennon and Clapton!, with the full cooperation of Richard and the Carpenter famiy, explores the public and private lives of the Carpenters, portraying Richard and Karen's dynamic pop music career as well as Karen's descent into anorexia nervosa and untimely death. 32 pages of photos.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The emphasis here leans more to Karen than to Richard, the acknowledged brains behind their arrangements. Their story is classic Americana, in both success and failure: two clean-cut kids from the suburbs who just love to make music together hit it big, and when Richard develops a pill addiction and Karen hits a low of 78 pounds, Coleman lays the blame on their overbearing and undemonstrative parents. To this day their mother insists that there was no psychological reason behind her daughter's starvation, believing instead that ``Karen was simply gripped by an iron determination to get very thin and stay that way.'' Coleman also traces Karen's problems back to early negative media comments about their ``square'' appearance amid the wild atmosphere in the music industry of the late-60's. While he keeps insisting that the group was never bland, Coleman's anecdotes reinforce the plain-toast image: their reproducing, note for note, the arrangements from their records when performing live; changing lyrics--e.g., ``sleep with you'' became ``be with you''--so as not to sully Karen's good- girl image; and proudly appearing at the Nixon White House in 1972. It is true that at the time of Karen's death relatively little was known about anorexia nervosa, but the eating disorder has since become familiar, and Coleman's glancing treatment of it reveals little that is new. A dual-celebrity bio that retells well-worn stories. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Despite a clean-cut image that put them distinctly at odds with the glam-rock and disco styles of other '70's bands, the Carpenters, renowned for such mellifluous hits as "Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun," were one of the most successful pop acts of the time. But like many of their more flamboyant colleagues, they had problems: Richard Carpenter suffered through a bout of severe chemical dependency (from which he eventually recovered) while his sister Karen battled anorexia nervosa, resulting in her death in 1983. Although rock journalist Ray Coleman's ( Lennon ) authorized biography is ostensibly a history of the Carpenters' career as pop icons, it also doubles as a case study of an anorexic, beginning and ending with accounts of Karen's final days and recording in meticulous, and at times almost intrusive, detail her struggles with her weight and her self-image. Coleman avoids pathologizing Karen or offering pat explanations for her condition. Instead, he impartially weaves together commentary, ranging from the affectionate to the critical, about Karen and Richard's lives and careers from the various viewpoints of family members, friends and associates, including Richard Carpenter himself. Well-researched, well-written and less gossipy than most celebrity bios, this offers insights into the workings of the music industry. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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