A Paper Life by Tatum O'Neal

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At age ten, Tatum O'Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history for her performance in the film classic Paper Moon. She was hailed as a new kind of child star -- sassy and precocious -- for a hip, cynical age. As the sidekick to her father, the flamboyant star and man-about-town Ryan O'Neal, she became a fixture at the most glamorous Hollywood parties and counted celebrities ranging from Cher to Stanley Kubrick among her childhood friends.

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

Then, just before her twenty-first birthday, Tatum met the man who would become her husband: the explosive tennis great John McEnroe. They had three children, Kevin, Sean, and Emily, 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, which 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.

A Paper Life is a story of strength and courage: unflinchingly honest, yet poignant, often funny, and unfailingly uplifting. It is a tale of triumph steeped in Hollywood lore -- and an inspiring testament to the healing power of love.


About Tatum O'Neal

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The youngest actress ever to win an Academy Award®, Tatum O'Neal has been a public figure for the last three decades. An actress, author, and the mother of three children, she makes her home in Los Angeles, California.
Published October 4, 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks. 285 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Paper Life

Publishers Weekly

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O'Neal portrays her divorced parents (actors Joanna Moore and Ryan O'Neal) as neglectful and abusive, with drug problems of their own.

Oct 11 2004 | Read Full Review of A Paper Life


Her father has maintained an extremely successful film career for the last forty plus years, starring in such eclectic films as “Love Story” and “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” He has also appeared on the TV series “Desperate Housewives” along with his own reality series “Ryan and Tatum;

Jan 04 2013 | Read Full Review of A Paper Life

Book Reporter

In addition to a tempestuous relationship with her volatile father, Tatum talks about her difficult, strained relationship with her mother, who was usually passed out from a combination of pills and alcohol, leaving young Tatum alone with many of her mother's shady boyfriends, one of whom moleste...

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of A Paper Life

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