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The above was about as much as I knew about Karen Carpenter.


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The Carpenters were big before I was born and when I was very young. I do remember some of their music from when I was younger, but I particularly remember watching the tv movie that aired in I was in high school at that time and that may have been when I found out about her anorexia. Maybe a bit too much. At the same time, I had a Carpenters soundtrack running through my head the entire time I was reading it!

Overall, though, I thought it was very good. LibraryCin Feb 11, Unlike the recent 'biography' of Freddie Mercury, which made me angry with the laziness of the authors, this objective study of Karen Carpenter stirred different emotions - sadness, of course, but also frustration.

I wanted to go back in time and smack her mother and brother's heads together for feeding Karen's demons and then doing nothing to halt the tragic spiral of self-doubt and self-harm that eventually killed her. For me, and I suspect for most people, Karen was the Carpenters, with her beautiful voice. Richard might have been a great pianist and composer - of other people's songs I wasn't aware that nearly all of their catalogue of hits were covers or written by other lyricists - not a crime, but I'm a fan of Queen, who wrote all their own material - but she was the star.

To quote Richard, I am very much 'Team Karen' - he's probably not as black as he's painted, but he could have encouraged his sister instead of holding her back to further his own career.

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And Agnes, Richard and Karen's mother, was probably the original 'soccer mom' - for her son's benefit, at least. Horrible woman - the biopic was spot on. Yes, the Carpenters were MOR, no, they didn't write original songs, yes, they got stuck in a rut - but who can listen to Karen's soulful, emotional voice and not be moved, whether to sing along or just listen with a smile? Her death at 32 from a disease that nobody really understood, after being taken advantage of by those closest to her for most of her life, is one of music's great losses.

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AdonisGuilfoyle Dec 29, How refreshing it is to read a biography that is honestly written with no intent or end product of sensationalism. The Carpenters were at the top of the charts in the 's. We've Only Just Begun was standard wedding music. Karen's voice was perfect in pitch, and while many did not confess to embracing the duo, their songs were exceedingly popular and well known with 16 consecutive top 20 songs from This is the sad and tragic story of Karen Carpenter who died at the age of 32 from self imposed starvation.

Traveling more than days a year, producing back - back albums, behind the smiles was a heap of sadness. Stretched to the limit of physical endurance, the Carpenters attempted to continue to ride the merry go round and grab the brass ring on a perpetual spin that escalated till they were going so fast, they were flung from the carousel. Told from the perspective of close friends who knew her well, Karen's sadness is brought to the forefront as the reader learns of a very dominating, controlling, unemotional mother, a brother who loved her dearly, but struggled with jealously when it was her voice and not his compositions that defined the group.

Beginning a down ward spiral, Karen at first lost weight until it became an uncontrollable eight year obsession. A flippant, passing comment in a review noted she was chubby and this then led to her death. Consuming no food and injesting cocktails of diuretics, large quantities of laxatives and, in order to speed her metabolism, she consumed many tablets per day of the prescription drug synthroid, Karen was not able to stop her dangerous obsession.

When she made a very bad choice of a husband, it was the beginning of the end for her. So little was known about anorexia during Karen's plummet to a skeletal 83 pounds. Under the treatment of an "expert", she was hospitalized and intravenously fed. Rapidly, she gained 30 pounds. When she returned home, her psychiatrist believed she had kicked the habit of an obsession and addiction to laxatives. Little did he know that she was swallowing bottles of an over-the-counter vomiting inducing chemical called ipecac.

Consumption of ipecac, combined with years of abuse, damaged her heart. Poignantly, her final recording session of a beautiful song titled Now, was done in just one take.

Randy Schmidt's biography of Karen Carpenter digs deep into her life and reveals a Karen Carpenter her fans did not know. Meredith Baxter. The Garner Files. Jon Winokur.

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