Author: Melissa Francis
I had mixed feelings about this biography by Melissa Francis, a child actress who now hosts two daily business shows on the Fox Business Network, including Money with Melissa Francis.
Working since she was a baby in the movie industry, Francis tells the tale of a narcissistic mother, a dis-empowered and disinterested father, and an abused sister, Tiffany. With her mother pushing her at every step, Melissa at 8 was cast as Cassandra on The Little House on the Prairie. Following that she performed in commercials and a horror movie. Working consistently until she is 18, she leads the life of an indulged California teenager, all the while under the manic and raging auspices of her mother. Melissa is the strong daughter; she and her mother are a team, while her sister Tiffany is ignored and abused by her mother. Tiffany goes the route of alcohol and drugs, while Melissa remains the good daughter, an overachiever who finally attends Harvard. The money she and her sister have made all their lives supposedly goes into their trust funds, but in the end her mother spends it all, stealing everything, leaving her father and Tiffany homeless. Meanwhile, Melissa meets a wonderful man, Wray, and marries him, after she has gotten her dream job of anchor on Fox Business News.
What rattled me a little was the Melissa Francis’s tone – everyone in her family is dysfunctional except her. While she shows great courage and intelligence in promoting herself and getting what she needs and wants in life, the book rants about Melissa’s mother to the very end. There is not much about her jobs, or her life with her husband except glowing reports of how she overcame her mother to become a wonderful mom and wife. While I believed this to be true, I wanted more information about Melissa instead of the constant pivot that she preserves around her mother. She never lets go of her mother, really, and yet has no awareness that this is true.
Nevertheless, Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter shows the astounding courage and strength of Melissa’s life, and her ability to overcome overwhelming odds to succeed. For this alone, the book is interesting, thoughtful and full of lessons to be learned from those of us who came from narcissistic parents, indulgent one moment, abusive the next. And Melissa Francis depicts that world powerfully.
Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir can be purchased at bookstores online as well as in your neighborhood.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.