With Love, Mommie Dearest: The Making of an Unintentional Camp Classic

Chicago Review. May 2024. 272p. ISBN 9781641607681. pap. $19.99. FILM
Hoff’s (Match Game 101: A Backstage History of “Match Game”) book about Mommie Dearest—both the tell-all memoir penned by Joan Crawford’s daughter Christina, and the 1981 film that starred Faye Dunaway as Crawford—is well-researched, highly detailed, and a breeze to read, especially with its juicy, scandalous behind-the-scenes stories. His book includes a balance of source material from Christina’s memoir and well-described nuances of Dunaway’s portrayal of Crawford as an abusive mother. The reception of the film was unprecedented; the movie was a commercial success, despite viewers laughing at how some of these scenes played out on screen, and critics didn’t love it. The book shows how and why the movie has had a lasting effect on film and pop culture nonetheless.
VERDICT Moving, definitive, and entertaining. This title about both the Mommie Dearest book and film might surprise even the most diligent movie-trivia lovers and will also captivate readers who don’t normally gravitate toward nonfiction.
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