For women of a certain age, Brooke Shields was our more perfect sister. In 1980, I didn’t understand what “nothing comes between me and my Calvins” meant any more than Brooke herself did. But I knew I needed a pair of those jeans.
Central to the Brooke Shields mystique was her mother, Teri Shields, who became the focus of nasty speculation after allowing 12-year-old Brooke to be cast as a child prostitute in the 1978 film Pretty Baby. In fact, the motivation for Brooke to write her new memoir was the character-assassinating obituary the New York Times published on Teri after her death in 2012.
There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me offers readers Brooke’s own perspective on this complicated and co-dependent relationship. Teri’s alcoholism and its effects on her only child form the nucleus of the story. From an early age, Brooke felt responsible for tending to her mother’s emotional needs, rather than the other way around. This story of Brooke’s career as a model and actress unfolds from the perspective of an adult child of an alcoholic.
Her voice in this memoir is unguarded and raw and deals head-on with the damage alcohol causes in intimate relationships. For a celebrity of her stature to write so honestly and intelligently about emotional wounds is a refreshing change.
The book will appeal not only to Shields fans, but also to readers who seek out memoirs about surviving dysfunctional families. Brooke Shields is still our sister, just more real and imperfect.