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A Paper Life

Narrated by: Tatum O'Neal
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (175 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At age 10, Tatum O'Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history for her performance in the film classic Paper Moon. As the sidekick to her father, Ryan O'Neal, she became a fixture at the most glamorous Hollywood parties and counted celebrities among her childhood friends.

But behind the glittering facade of Tatum's life lay heartbreak: abandonment, abuse, and neglect. Her alcoholic mother drifted in and out of her life. Her father grew increasingly punishing and distant, especially after moving in with his longtime love, Farrah Fawcett. By her late teens, Tatum had begun a perilous slide into self-destruction.

Then Tatum met the man who would become her husband: the explosive tennis great John McEnroe. They had three children in quick succession, followed by one of the messiest high-profile divorces on record. With the collapse of her marriage and no real family to turn to, Tatum succumbed to the demons of her past that would nearly kill her. Now she has emerged clean and sober, rediscovering herself as an actress, mother, and wonderfully vibrant woman in what she considers the prime of her life.

©2004 Tatum O'Neal (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"In this honest, disturbing memoir, O'Neal...reveals the behind-the-scenes story of her lonely, chaotic life." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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POORLY WRITTEN INDISTINGUISHABLE BOOK

A lifelong fan of Tatum O’Neal I looked forward to this book. I looked for this book. Tatum as reader is understandable but unnecessary and lack luster which she reads it ruins it. I think. I could never discern whether the book was dreadful because of the writing, the reading, or Tatum’s life was insanely wealthy but dysfunctional. Welcome to America. Therefore, over-privileged shrugging on top with-poor-little-rich-girl underneath with the latter getting old very quick and often.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Worth it

listened to 80% of it in just one sitting, very compelling book, great bio and even greater reflection of the consequences of having children.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Deb
  • South San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 01-18-11

started out strong, but ended weakly

a little over half way through it turned into a typical "everyone is wrong" and "poor me." although i stayed with it, i found my interest waning and found myself yelling at specific comments made by Tatum. i am looking forward to reading McEnroe's book now to find out his side of the story.

the most interesting part of the book revolves around Paper Moon, and how she got there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Book - Honest and Bittersweet

This account is painfully honest and heartbreaking to listen to at times. It exemplifies that mad highs and lows of fame and wealth from a woman who seems to only be searching for something real and true. No one in her life and in the book is dashed but treated as the complex humans they are. I was fascinated by every word and hope the writer continues to heal and blossom. Tatum is a greatly underestimated actress.

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Her Childhood Shadows, Tatum O’Neal

I’ve just finished A Paper Life. This is a story about a young beautiful child who was raised by parents
who were so self absorbed they had no idea how to connect with their own children.
By not focusing on she and her brother, Griffin, they were caste out into the world without any tools to protect themselves.
So sad to read, it’s nearly impossible to not tear up over and over. But Tatum has overcome her childhood and marriage to a man named John who , it turns out, was no better than her abusive father.
Do I sound angry? Yes and you will be too.
It’s a lesson in how not to treat your children
or anyone for that matter.
Tatum, Griffin and Redmond, have survived so far.
Hopefully the truth of Love will win.

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Crazy life!

Felt bad for Tatum so many times throughout this book . I couldn’t stop listening though. I don’t like Ryan O’Neal at all! The stories about him during her childhood and into adulthood are horrifying.

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This was a wonderfully told story

This was a wonderfully told story. I enjoyed learning about her life. We all have things we need to overcome.

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Excellent Story of Perseverance

I really enjoyed this book. It's a quick listen but captures your attention for the entirety. I vaguely knew the history of Tatum and her father. After listening, I have much admiration for her ability to forgiver her father and her self for the past.

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Turning lemons into lemonade

It’s always best to hear a story straight from the person who lived it. Miss O’Neal’s story is remarkable. She is probably the strongest person I have ever heard of. To go through what she did and to still be alive is amazing. Not once did she blame anyone for her struggles with her demons.

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Very good book.

Interesting and honest look into the life of Tatum. Her struggles and pain are hard to listen to at times. Having so much in the way of fame, but really having so little