Melissa Francis’ book, Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir, is getting rave reviews. The Fox Business Network anchor was a child actress who landed a full-time role on Little House on the Prairie when she was just 8 years old.
The author’s mother was so intertwined with her daughter’s show business career than she was selfish and manipulative, according to the Washington Examiner. Francis recalls what many have described as a Mommy Dearest style childhood.
In Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter Melissa describes her mother behaving like an Army drill sergeant when making sure she was well prepared for her acting jobs and auditions. The Francis home was allegedly often in a state of squalor. The young actress’ house was reportedly often filled with piles of laundry and no food in the refrigerator.
When Melissa Francis did not have an acting job, her mother would allegedly fall into a deep depression. The stage mother reportedly attempted to keep her daughter’s acting earnings a secret and took steps to have the child emancipated when she was 15 years old so she could work longer hours on the set.
The Fox Business Network anchor also shares that Tiffany, her older sister, was largely the forgotten child and acted out as a result. Francis notes that when she was older she became very focused on college and her career while Tiffany regressed and became more dependent upon her parents.
Although many passages of Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter are sad to read, it is ultimately a story of triumph. Unlike a plethora of other child stars, Melissa Francis was able to move past the experience without delving into unsavory behavior and went on to become a successful woman.