Tatum O’Neal – A Paper Life

13. A Paper Life by Tatum O’Neal (2004)
Length: 285 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 19 July 2009
Finished: 22 July 2009
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2009
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and Tatum O’Neal is a new author for me.

Tatum Beatrice O’Neal is the oldest of Ryan O’Neal’s four children. As the child of Ryan and his first wife – the actress Joanna Moore – she and her brother Griffin, and their half-brothers Patrick and Redmond have grown up in the limelight. Her acting career started early as she often co-starred opposite her father in some of the best-known films of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

At the age of ten, Tatum O’Neal became the youngest Academy Award winner in history – winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1974 for her performance in the film classic Paper Moon. She was hailed by the entertainment industry as a new kind of child star – sassy and precocious – someone who resonated with the emerging generation of hip, yet cynical moviegoers. As her father’s sidekick, Tatum soon became a fixture at the most glamorous Hollywood parties. Appearing on the arm of one of the most flamboyant and fashionable stars in Hollywood – the man-about-town, Ryan O’Neal – she counted celebrities from Cher to Stanley Kubrick among some of her closest childhood friends.

Yet behind the glittering facade of Tatum’s very public life lay her very private pain. A life full of heartbreak: abandonment, abuse and neglect. Her mother – the actress Joanna Moore – was a struggling alcoholic and drug addict, and drifted in and out of her daughter’s life. Her father – raising both Tatum and her brother Griffin – grew increasingly punitive and distant from his children as time passed. By her late teens, Tatum – despite being a working actress with ten movies to her credit – had nevertheless begun a perilous slide into self-destruction.

Then, just before she turned twenty-one, Tatum met the man who would become her husband: the legendary tennis player, John McEnroe. The couple had three children together – but their eight-year marriage was a turbulent one – and led to one of the messiest high-profile divorces on record. With the subsequent demise of her marriage, Tatum very nearly succumbed to the demons of her past. She has since emerged from the darkness – living a clean and sober lifestyle – rediscovering herself as an actress, a mother, and a wonderfully vibrant woman in what she considers the prime of her life.

A Paper Life is a story of indomitable strength and courage: telling the life story of Tatum O’Neal – one of Hollywood’s brightest, yet troubled young stars. Her story is deeply personal yet unflinchingly honest, poignantly funny, and unfailingly uplifting. This is a triumphant tale steeped in Hollywood lore – and is an inspiring testament to the healing power of love.

I must say that I have always enjoyed reading autobiographies about movie stars, and Tatum O’Neal’s autobiography was no exception. I really enjoyed reading this book, and was happy to learn that she was continuing to stay strong in her sobriety. This was truly an inspirational story, although I would certainly agree that Tatum holds nothing back about her various relationships. I give this book an A+!

That being said, I was saddened to learn that in June of 2008 she was in trouble with the law again. I wish her all the best for the future, and hope that she can strengthen her relationship with her father.

A+! – (96-100%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight
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