With Love, Mommie Dearest

With Love, Mommie Dearest
With Love, Mommie Dearest

With Love, Mommie Dearest

The Making of an Unintentional Camp Classic
By A. Ashley Hoff, Foreword by Bruce Vilanch


314 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, PDF

Trade Paper, $19.99 (US $19.99) (CA $25.99)

ISBN 9781641607681

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (May 2024)


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When she died in 1977, Joan Crawford was remembered as an icon of Hollywood's Golden Age—until publication the following year of her daughter’s memoir, Mommie Dearest.

Christina Crawford’s book was an immediate bestseller, combining the infrequently discussed topic of child abuse with the draw of Hollywood drama.

But when Paramount Pictures released the film version, starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford, it was panned, and it remains one of the most legendary critical bombs in film history. The lavish, big-screen adaptation drew unexpected laughter for its over the top the scenes depicting life in the Crawford household. Rarely have such good intentions been met with such ridicule.

Despite this, the movie was a commercial success and remains, four decades later, immensely popular as an unintentional camp classic. Based on new interviews with people connected to the book and the film—from cast and crew members to industry insiders—With Love, Mommie Dearest details the writing and selling of Christina's book and the aftermath of its publication, as well as the filming of the motion picture, whose backstage drama almost surpassed what was viewed on-screen in the film.

Hollywood historian A. Ashley Hoff explores the phenomenon, the camp, and the very real social issues addressed by the book and film.


How did a harrowing tale of Hollywood child abuse turn into the camp movie of the 1980s? A. Ashley Hoff takes you through it, offering painstaking research and expert dissection—and I can’t say I’m mad at the dirt.” —Michael Musto, Village Voice

"Moving, definitive, and entertaining. This title about both the Mommie Dearest book and film might surprise even the most diligent movie-trivia lovers and will also captivate readers who don’t normally gravitate toward nonfiction." — Library Journal

“The old saying says, ‘Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan,’ but Hoff has managed to track down the many parents of one of the cinema’s most legendary (and watchable) fiascos. Dishy and thoroughly researched, this page-turner takes us deep inside a movie that wrecked careers and reputations while launching a thousand midnight screenings.” —Alonso Duralde, author of Hollywood Pride

A brisk, gossipy Hollywood story. — Kirkus Reviews

“In this outrageously entertaining expose, A. Ashley Hoff brilliantly disentangles the glamorous mess of Hollywood narcissism without ever losing sight of the abused child at the center of it all. A compelling archeological dig into the hysterical and too often horrifying history of Mommie Dearest—the book, the movie, the monsters.” —Ann Magnuson, artist, actress, and writer


“This is the book all of us Mommie Dearest obsessed fans have been waiting for! It’s a fascinating and rare look into the making of a cult classic, soup to nuts! With Love, Mommie Dearest comes highly recommended by me because I am one of its FAAAAANS!!” —Peaches Christ, filmmaker and cohost of the Midnight Mass podcast

With Love, Mommie Dearest is literally an 'I can’t put it down' book. If you think you know everything about Mommie Dearest, trust me, you do not. From conception to the making of the movie to the aftermath, all the details are here. Not only do you get the juicy tidbits but the real work involved in getting a movie made is fascinatingly explained. A must read for all fans!” —Sherry Vine, actor, singer, Drag Legend

"Author Hoff does an excellent job distinguishing Christina Crawford’s best-selling 1978 memoir, ‘Mommie Dearest’, from the adapted screen version, MOMMIE DEAREST (1981) ... It’s fascinating to read how those involved were absolutely convinced they were making a serious drama featuring an ultra-serious topic and a Hollywood legend." — Red Carpet Crash

Author Biography

A. Ashley Hoff is the author of Match Game 101: A Backstage History of Match Game. He previously worked for talent agencies in Chicago and Los Angeles and has written articles on Hollywood for the Advocate and Films in Review. He has been interviewed on numerous pop culture subjects in magazines such as Closer Weekly and on various local talk shows and podcasts such as The Nick Digilio Show on WGN Radio, The Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius XM, and the podcast Feast of Fun.