• There Was a Little Girl

  • The Real Story of My Mother and Me
  • By: Brooke Shields
  • Narrated by: Brooke Shields
  • Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (742 ratings)

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There Was a Little Girl

By: Brooke Shields
Narrated by: Brooke Shields
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Publisher's Summary

The perfect gift for Brooke Shields fans, There Was a Little Girl explores Brooke's relationship with her unforgettable mother, Teri, in this extraordinary, heartfelt memoir that became a New York Times best-seller.  

Brooke Shields never had what anyone would consider an ordinary life. She was raised by her Newark-tough single mom, Teri, a woman who loved the world of show business and was often a media sensation all by herself. Brooke's iconic modeling career began by chance when she was only 11 months old, and Teri's skills as both Brooke's mother and her manager were formidable. But in private she was troubled and drank heavily. 

As Brooke became an adult the pair made choices and sacrifices that would affect their relationship forever. And when Brooke's own daughters were born she found that her experience as a mother was shaped in every way by the woman who raised her. But despite the many ups and downs, Brooke was by Teri's side when she died in 2012, a loving daughter until the end. 

Only Brooke knows the truth of the remarkable, difficult, complicated woman who was her mother. And now, in an honest, open memoir about her life growing up, Brooke will reveal stories and feelings that are relatable to anyone who has been a mother or daughter. 

©2014 Brooke Shields (P)2014 Penguin

What listeners say about There Was a Little Girl

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting, but sounds a little entitled at times

I had heard years ago that Brooke Sheilds had fired her mother as her manager and that her mom was the typical show biz mother... It was interesting to read Brooke's side of it and how she saw her mother.. They had a loving, yet very difficult relationship, mostly because of her mom's drinking.. I can relate to many of the conflicts she faced, as my mom is also very difficult.. Brooke's mother eventually developed dementia.. I can also relate to that, as both of my parents have different forms of the disease.. My heart broke for her in many parts of the book. It's well written and very well performed.. She sounds like your typical bossy only/oldest child at times, and I'm sure her mom probably very much resented a child telling her what to do.. and there's a little air of entitlement here and there that kind of turned me off... For that I took off one star, but overall, interesting story.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Edit is a Good Four Letter Word.

This book is disappointing and what more… in years to come, I feel that she will regret this effort. Brooke stated that she wanted to write an honest portrayal of her and her mother’s unique relationship. The media’s portrayal of her mother, back in the day, was scandalous. I was quite interested to hear the other side. It didn't get told. Yes, her mother was her greatest advocate, but it’s clear from reading this that what got them to her level of fame was a whole lot of fate. Imagine Brooke’s career had someone knowledgeable been at the helm.

The first problem with this book is that Brooke, like her mother, thinks/thought more of Brooke. The second problem is that Brooke has a clouded vision of common and uncommon. Brook goes to painful lengths relaying each and every detail of multiple events in her life that were not uncommon from mine. Then in an offhandedly sidebar mentions something off the wall with no story about it. Everyone learned once not to let our mother chose our clothes in high school – it’s uncommon that your mother printed 200 copies of your picture to give as a party favor when you were in high school. I too know that fear each time my single mom left me. What I didn't experience though was regular bar hopping after grade school on the streets of New York City in search of my mother.

The adult ramblings are especially painful. There is an extremely agonizing in depth reminiscence involving her daughter’s ear piecing that served no purpose other than to waste the reader's time. She finished with a lengthy open letter to her mother that is basically 69 ways of saying the same thing over and over and over.

One last comment - shameless Lazyboy product plug in a book? Can you spell T.A.C.K.Y?

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow - a heart touching listen!

What does Brooke Shields bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I definitely appreciate hearing Brooke's voice read this. I know I heard her voice crack with emotion during the intro, at a part where I teared up myself instantly as she shared a raw emotion I could relate to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely!

Any additional comments?

Regardless of Brooke's celebrity or fame, I felt like a friend was sharing her experience of losing her mom with me, like you would over coffee. You can tell some of her family stories are very "practiced" and have a life of their own, but that in itself is one of the key points she brings up in order to bring her her mom to life in words.

I recently lost my mom about 2 years ago, and also have experienced addiction/alcohol issues in the setting of a white collar "looking good/feeling bad" family. I could totally relate and listen to Brooke's progression back to sanity as she was immersed in the craziness. If you don't have a sense of identity or compassion in living with alcoholism, this book might not ring any bells for you. But if you know that ride, then her story reminds us again that no one is exempt from alcohol's effects and we are each on our own journey to keep our heads up above the waves, famous or not. There were quite a few comments Brooke shared that made me draw my breath in quickly, as she captured things I had felt and thought privately myself. The backstory of her filming experiences and life make for some lively distractions from the obvious elephant of the complex mother-daughter relationship. I thank her for this brave, honest listen!

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mostly annoying

I am sad that this couldn't be a better review. I'll start out with the good: it is a really good story about Teri Shields; she was a character! She wasn't the stage mom she was made out to be and other than her issues with alcohol, it sounds like she really did her best for Brooke. Unfortunately, the adult Brooke comes across as very self-centered and constantly put out by her ailing mother.

The bad: Brooke's writing is unnecessarily verbose. The first few chapters are really good, but by the time she gets to the Pretty Baby era, the writing becomes overloaded in minutiae that is irrelevant. The book should have been heavily edited to delete all the unnecessary information.

The worst was the narration. Brooke's voice goes up and down with odd inflection and her pauses are put in random parts of sentences. It's a case where someone else should have narrated this book.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Did Brooke meet her objective? I am not so sure...

Brooke started off the book saying that she wanted the present a better portrait of her mother to counter the object of ridicule that was often presented in the press. The first part of the book was sweet - a daughter presenting a likeable mother she admires. I have never dealt close up with an alcoholic and I can only imagine the struggle and disappointment it was for Brooke growing up and I admire her efforts to help her mother earlier on. Later on in her adulthood, even after she must have realized that alcoholism is a disease, she did not treat her mother well. Granted she may have been frustrated that her mother did not see her drinking as a problem but that is a part of the pathology. Long story short, I feel that Terri Shields end up coming off as much more likeable and sympathetic than Brooke. Brooke's poor treatment of Terri and her sometimes selfishness and slight narcissism bled through, unintentionally I imagine. Nevertheless, this is a good enough book since whether or not you like the characters is not the measure of a good book.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Surprisingly open and down to earth

I always thought of Brooke as this model and movie star who was above the population. If people read this, they would be amazed how normal and real she is. I was floored she was on all these magazines, yet her mother made her shop at thrift stores for all their clothing. The relationship between them is the real story, which is very complex. Brook does a very good job of balancing her feelings without making her mother a complete villain.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mother Dearest (No Sarcasm)

Where does There Was a Little Girl rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Within top ten. I found it interesting and thoughtful.

What did you like best about this story?

Motherhood is hard. Teri was dealing with alcoholism and being a single mom. I think she did the best she could. I am glad that Brook shows love for her mother despite the negative things.

What about Brooke Shields’s performance did you like?

She was as honest as she could be about her mom....then she followed through and spoke of her daughters and her relationship with them. I connected on a certain level and hope that my daughter can see me in the same light as Brook sees her mom. She deals with her mom's imperfections but loves her all the same. Even standing ready to defend her.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes. Toward the end especially...seeing what Brook took from her relationship with her mom and applied it to her relationship with her girls. I was deeply touched.

Any additional comments?

Thank you Brook for the peek into your world. I happily read your version of your life with your mother. I feel it helps me look at my relationship with my daughter in a new light. Thank you.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Love Story with a Bitter Twist

Have you listened to any of Brooke Shields’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to Brooke Shield's book about postpartum depression and it was informative and interesting. This book "There Was a Little Girl" is an equally interesting account of the complex relationship of Brooke and her mother, Teri, a chronic alcoholic. Brooke does a great job recounting her mother's early years in New York, the circumstances surrounding her parents brief marriage and the events which led to Brooke's early years in the entertainment industry.

As the book progresses, Brooke spends too much time focused on herself. She comes off as selfish, spoiled, slightly delusional and self entitled. The story glosses over Brooke's marriage to and divorce from Andre Agassi, the finer points of Brooke's split from her mother and the years of Teri's mental decline.Some of Brooke's self absorbed reflections are cringe worthy. Did she actually mean to show herself as cruel to her mother? I doubt it but that is definitely what comes across. It seemed like once Brooke no longer needed her mother, Teri was shoved to the embarrassment corner and left to fend for herself.Something is broken in the adult Brooke.

Any additional comments?

The book is about 20% too long and the story needed a good editor to remove repetition but overall an interesting light weight listen for aficionados of celebrity biographical literature.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Misses the mark

In the introduction, Brooke Shields tells us that this is an unvarnished portrayal of her mother and the story of their complex mother/daughter relationship. There is some truth to that, but there is also some part of the story and relationship left untold and other parts are re-varnished. Telling the story without any analysis is pointless. Why did Brooke's mother drink? Why did she use people? Why didn't Teri Shields ever actually get a job and support herself instead of sponging off boyfriends, husbands and her daughter? And how did Brooke come out of all this on the other side of all this relatively intact? I have no more idea now than before I read the book.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Poignant story of a very complex relationship

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes! This relationship was so different than that portrayed by the media. Funny at times, quite sad at others, really worth a read if you are interested in mother-daughter relationships, Brooke Shields, or the impact of alcoholism.

What other book might you compare There Was a Little Girl to and why?

Glass Castle

What about Brooke Shields’s performance did you like?

I enjoyed listening to her tell her own story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Carol
  • 11-07-18

Thank you Brooke - you have helped me in my grief.

I read this book when it first came out. My mother died last month and although she was old and ill, I am in unbelievable grief and with feelings of guilt for times when I was not patient or kind. Reading this book again was like having therapy. We are all human beings with faults and no one can be perfect. You never know when the last chance to be kind will be. I saw my mum all the time but was not always as selfless as I wish I had been. I advise anyone suffering from feelings of regret over a last word not said to read this book and overcome feelings that you could have done better. It is as it is and one really can only remember the good times. To feel guilty is really selfishness in disguise.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Samantha Buckell
  • 08-06-20

Such great honesty

Brooke Shields shares her relationship with her mother in this honest recollection of her memories and feelings.
I could empathise and I have found it useful on a personal level.

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  • Marina Ming
  • 05-22-19

A really interesting story and great narration

This was a really good story - I knew snippets about Brooke Shields's life and had a vague idea that her mother was a stage mother and alcoholic. This book tells the story of Brooke, her life and is focussed on her relationship with her mother. She had an unusual and colourful upbringing and did well to turn out how she did when she had to grow up quikcly. Despite her mother's faults or personality, Brooke narrates this story with humour and honesty. Her mother certainly was an interesting quirky character! Despite admitting some obvious faults she does not criticise or sully her memory - if I were Terry Shields I would be proud to read this. If only she lived in a different time or had different opportunities (or some therapy) life could have been different for her. This was a fascinating read/listen and hearing it in Brooke's own voice gave it authenticity - I didn't know she could be funny! overall a very interesting story and portrayal of her life, and growing up in a different era of showbiz. I didn't want it to end.

1 person found this helpful