A look at "The Carpenters The Untold Story" paperback 1994 by Ray Coleman

by Adrian "Thee Ace Man" Downing, III

email: theeaceman64@gmail.com

Prelogue by Ray Coleman - A nice start to the book as it gives the author's intentions and a backdrop to the book here.  It is nice in that it states how this started out and that Richard is still trying to sort things out even 10 plus years later (1983 to 1994).  A good backdrop as even 10 years later things were still unclear and Karen wasn't around to ask anymore to clarify.  If it helps one person then a book should be done so a book was worked on by Ray with help from Richard.  Questions needed to be asked and they were.  But without Karen, there are some things that may be unquestionably unknown for sure.  Richard Carpenter is the foremost authority on Karen Carpenter (well Richard and mom, Agnes, actually.  Karen and her mom were actually very close too).  A good start as if you are looking to write something about Karen, you need Richard and/or mom (Agnes) for advice as Richard and mom were closest to Karen.  And as a side note here is another problem I have though is that when Karen and I talked over the phone on February 3, 1983, Karen had said to me that she had at least ten secrets that she was keeping from Richard that I knew about and then after that Karen said that she had been keeping a couple secrets from me but I probably knew what those secrets were as well.  As an example, when Richard showed up on February 4, 1983, during our talk Richard asked if I knew where Karen might have hidden the money from her accounts (Karen had withdrew most of her money to make sure that after signing the divorce that Thomas didn't make a 'quick withdrawal' before the divorce was finalized).  I told Richard that I believed that Karen had put the money in a shoe box in Karen's closet.  Richard called up mom and mom found it in a shoe box in Karen's closet.  I am that guy that is writing this.

Foreward by Herb Alpert - A nice little piece written by Herb about The Carpenters.  Very short piece and not too detailed which is a good thing to start.  How Herb came to know Karen and Richard mostly and a short overview by Herb.

Not in the book, but an introduction to the guy writing this page (near the end of 2020 [December 29] and probably into 2021).  I first met Karen on September 6, 1978 and Karen and I spent a lot of time around each other from September 6, 1978 to June 22, 1979.  Then some time apart and Karen and I saw each other again from June 12 to 20, 1981.  Karen called me up on February 3, 1983 and we probably talked a good half hour on the night before she passed away (probably either 5 or 6 PM Pacific time until probably 5:30 or 6:30 PM Pacific time).  I am the 'Adrian' (my first name) Karen wrote about in her diaries starting in September 1978 (as John Adrian and Karen had split up in 1977 and John had married someone else about three months after Karen and John split).  I was also around Karen (in the background) during the start of her solo album in 1979.  After about two years apart, Karen and I saw each other again and we talked some more in 1981.  And Karen and I talked a lot on the day / night before she passed away.  I am also "the new manager" story from February 1983.  Phil Ramone was a producer and not a manager.  Karen and I were originally planning on eloping in New York State on February 4, 1983 but plans changed as Jerry Weintraub (manager) had already started booking tour dates and rehearsals in late February 1983.  The plans changed from Karen getting a blood test and staying for two days in New York State to Karen and I eloping in Las Vegas on February 4, 1983.  And of course, plans really changed for us on February 4, 1983 and instead of Karen and me, I ended up having Richard fly out to New York State and Richard and I talked (and shared some tears together) on the day Karen passed away.  I also had an order of suppression issued on me since October 1973 by the Archdeacon of Canterbury and I was not allowed to be in the public spotlight so to speak (no public books, magazines, tabloids, movies, films, interviews, records and such or credits thereof.  Nothing public - national or international).  I have been blocked since 1973 and I am not sure, but I may still be blocked, but the last signature on the order passed away in December 2009 and as far as I know, that suppression order is finally probably not enforceable anymore.  And keeping with what Ray did in the Prelogue, how do you talk publicly about someone whose name and picture can't be mentioned publicly?  After Mush (her dog), Richard and mom, I was probably the next closest to Karen before she passed away.  And not just the suppression order but I was born on December 4, 1964 and with the media and sensationalistic stories and such, it was probably best left unsaid so to speak.  From 1978 to 1979 Karen and I had a strict rule of no physical touching, but when has that ever bothered fiction writers looking to make money off of twisting and making up stories about others?  And with that being said, Karen and I waited and we didn't touch each other but I have been accused by many [censoreds] of trying to make Karen look like a pedophile.  And to answer that, how can two people that can't touch each other have sex?  A pedophile is someone wishing to have sex with a prepubescent child.  Karen and I waited and we both had a rule of no physical contact until I was older.  Fiction writers.  See what I mean.  Well, actually fiction should have some truth to it so "bullsh*t writers" would probably be more appropriate I guess.

Also, not in this book but I have heard from several others who have either met or knew Ray Coleman and these others had told me that Ray had told them that Ray had made some mistakes in his book.  According to these others, Ray would apologize to people for letting a few inaccurate things appear in this book.  Ray would mention to people that a few things were kind of misleading about the family and such and that it was not so much the information, itself, but more the way that Ray presented the information (assuming is the quickest way to make an ass out of you and me) that was inaccurate.  This is why I am kind of curious as to what is in this book.  The reason why these people that had known Ray had talked with me about Ray's book was because several times on the internet I had become a little upset about what some people who had said they read Ray's book, had been saying about Karen and her family.  After seeing me getting kind of upset and asking questions and such of others, others came around and told me that they had known or had talked to Ray and that the stuff I was saying and asking questions about was stuff that Ray had apologized to these others about.  Apparently, from what I heard from others, that after this book was released, other authors kind of teased Ray about being a 'fiction writer' and such as some things weren't quite accurate the way Ray had wrote them.  But Ray passed away in 1998? and Ray lived in the UK and I know many of the Carpenter's family on Harold's side lived in Surrey UK and had probably (but I don't know if they definitely had) talked with Ray.  And my problems on the internet usually involved people talking bad about Richard or Agnes (mom) and some stuff not sounding right to me.  The only way to investigate what others have said is to read this I guess.  After getting introductions out of the way here, here we go...

Part One, New York City 1982, Tears and Fears - New York City 1982 was the Steven Levenkron era as from January 1982 until September 1982, Karen stayed at an apartment in New York City and went back and forth to therapy sessions with Steven Levenkron (author) and others at the Levenkron Clinic.  Starts out with three different sources and definitions of anorexia nervosa from three different sources.  My best definition I have found is anorexia is an eating disorder as causes and such are all debatable but the root problem is an eating disorder that varies on cause based on each person's personal experiences with effect to cause of that disorder.  From my own personal experiences with Karen and with hearing from others, there appear to be many different causes and not a generic cause.  From my own experience with Karen as well, Karen's cause was originally her not being able to perform or sleep on a full stomach and Karen had a rule where she did not eat 4 hours before performing or 4 hours before sleeping (and one hour for swimming if you know Karen and her personal jokes).  Around early 1978 Karen started realizing a second more concerning problem.  As Karen would lose weight from performing and sleeping, Karen would start getting thoughts in her head that all kids are cute and attractive.  With this thought started Karen's thinking that in order for a woman to be considered publicly attractive, they needed to be straight as a board (not curvy) like a little girl.  This was the thought that Karen said was getting her to keep losing weight.  And with this being stated here, correct, none of this had to do with family or control or such.  Actually, according to Karen, it kind of bothered her that she would lose control and start thinking that thought of "in order for a woman to be considered attractive, she needs to be straight as a board like a little girl."  Karen really didn't know why that thought was there, just that the thought was there.  Karen and I actually talked about this and we realized this in late September and early October 1978.  The larger problem was/is that therapy and such didn't/doesn't deal with this stuff as these are 'triggers' and that kind of therapy wasn't/isn't/probably still isn't available as the therapy available deals with a set profile of what a therapist feels an anorexic is and nothing about triggers or cause/effect.  Yes, Karen was smart and not "out of her mind".  Many therapists and such still appear to be more out of their mind than Karen ever was.  So with this being stated, wowza, I am liking what I am reading in Ray's book here about the Levenkron experience and how Levenkron is trying to force his will over reality.  Agnes (mom) has a good head on her shoulders.  Levenkron makes you scratch your head hoping to get the dandruff or whatever out.  Agnes knowing.  Levenkron keeps assuming without asking here.  Massive communication gap between Levenkron and Karen.  And for added information here, In January 1982, when Karen entered Levenkron's Clinic, Karen weighed 78 pounds.  In September 1982 after being admitted into Lennox Hill Hospital, Karen weighed 77 pounds.  The book states a one year stint, but I remember Karen telling me during our phone call in 1983 that the stint was supposed to be for 3 years at the clinic.  Note too, at the end of the first chapter or whatever, it is November 1982 and Karen weighs 108 pounds.  After being in Lennox Hill from September to November 1982, Karen saw Levenkron for a short while and then went home to California (on a DC-10).  The weight was from an experimental procedure where they put a feeding tube into Karen's heart and fed Karen that way during her stay at Lennox Hill Hospital.  Karen weighed 108 pounds when she passed away on February 4, 1983.  Nothing mentioned of the autopsy here as it wouldn't be 'time yet' in the story line, but Karen's autopsy was quite a bit misleading when I looked at it.  Talks with Agnes, Richard and Levenkron and so far, Ray Coleman appears to be presenting information very well in this book.  Itchie is mentioned as Itchy (which I think Itchie was how Karen spelled it and Itchy was probably Richard and most others).  Another interesting piece of information is Itchie's maiden name that I have seen as Ichiuji, Iuchanji and now Itchyumi.  For reference, I first saw but did not meet Richard in I believe early October 1978, I met Richard once with Karen in mid May 1979 and once without Karen on February 4, 1983.  I met Itchie in the beginning of June 1979.  Tuesday March 27, 1979 I am thinking was during a break as from September 5, 1978 to June 22 (23?), 1979 Karen primarily stayed with her step cousin Wendy B[censored]k in New York State.  Karen had a 7am to 3pm Eastern Time job at that time (with several week long breaks and a vacation or two).  The couple breaks were fall break, Columbus Day (Monday)?, Thanksgiving break, Christmas / New Years break, winter break, a long weekend for President's Day, spring break, Easter break, Memorial Day break, and of course summer break started after 3 pm on June 22, 1979.  Karen also took the week from December 11 to 14, 1978 off to do the Bruce Forsyth Show and Karen missed a day in mid May 1979 (Karen was in the local hospital on a Monday I believe).  I met Jerry Weintraub either on December 8 or 11, 1978 and then I saw him again at the end of January 1979.  I almost went with Karen when she did the Bruce special but unfortunately my parents had my birth certificate and they were working (either the 8th or 11th) so I couldn't get my birth certificate in time.  But a thoughtful start here and so far well presented I feel by the author.  I was around Karen from September 6, 1978 to June 22, 1979 and she was actually doing better with her anorexia.  At one time, (I think around late April or early May 1979) I remember Karen saying she was up to around 136 pounds at one time and when I last saw her in 1979 on June 1979 I believe she weighed 124 pounds.  Karen's work was 3 blocks from her step cousin's place and her job was on the third floor and Karen would cart a shopping bag with knitting needles and books back and forth.  The other part is that in September 1975 doctors had first diagnosed Karen with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and figured it was something to do with Karen being 5 pounds when born and being born premature.  Most of the time, Karen weighed over 100 pounds during this time (Karen originally weighed 94 pounds when I met her on September 6, 1978) but with the exercise (which was actually for her arrhythmia and her heart not beating regularly) Karen stayed slim looking.  Another side note is that I saw Karen in the local hospital in mid May 1979 and Karen was hooked up to an EKG machine.  The machine sounded like a messed up game of Pong with nothing steady.  The doctor asked Karen if she would wish to have a pacemaker installed and Karen was very adamant about not being kept alive by a machine (if God wanted me to have a heart that beat steady, I would have a heart that beat steady and if that's what He wants, He can fix it).  Also, in 1975, doctors did an extensive study and could not find anything wrong with Karen physically just that Karen was born premature.  Karen hated hospitals as every time, an EKG machine and "you need a pacemaker".  I know that Karen said her mom knew about it, but not sure if anyone else knew.  But it wasn't about her singing career or such, but Karen just did not want to be kept alive by a machine (and it probably wouldn't have worked anyway as when Karen passed away her glycol [blood sugar] level was over 1100 which even with a pacemaker installed, at that high a level, Karen's heart would have stopped anyway).  Honestly, a lot to read here, and as noted, I added a lot too.  And this is just the beginning here...

Downey, California, 1983 - Yes, the second part and like Agnes and Richard knew, Karen was a common person and not much for the glitz and glamour.  Karen was a tomboy.  Karen wasn't a model or such and Karen used to refer to it as 'being frugal'.  Karen really didn't like being the center of attention or in the spotlight and that glitzy stuff draws attention on people.  Karen loved cooking, knitting, needlepoint and stuff like that.  Karen also loved camping too (not with a big RV and that kind of stuff but 'back to nature that God created' stuff with animals and frollicking in the grass and climbing trees and doing cartwheels and such with wide open spaces).  Good chapter here.  There was an addition to Karen's autopsy that listed emetine as .46 ml and only found in the liver.  Nothing in her blood stream and nothing recent.  Karen had not been using ipecac and also as Richard noted, Karen's voice wasn't having problems either.  I do know that in September 1982, Karen had told me that she took ipecac and that was what got Karen sent over to Lennox Hill.  As far as Synthroid, Karen told me about that.  Karen did not do that stuff.  Secondly, um, the thyroid is connected to the voice box.  No freaking way there.  Karen never did thyroid medications.  Karen didn't even know what that stuff was at the time and Karen said she had a list of six things that Levenkron gave her that Karen had no idea what that stuff was.  Karen originally was just X-LAX and bulimia (sticking her finger down her throat) with aspirin and during her 'visitor' (menstruation) Karen would take possibly a Pamperin or a Midol.  From personal experience, Karen would get very tired during her visitor.  Another nice chapter here.  Good reading so far.  Some details missing here and there but not intentionally misleading.

Part Two - A Middle-American Dream - OK, family stuff here in this part.  Fairly detailed too.  There is a small part missing as I had talked with Harold's step mom (Wefta? B[censored]k I believe was her name.  There was also Dmytro and Wefta B[censored]k in the family tree which led to Wendy and Peter B[cendored]k [there were two Wendys, Wendy S and Wendy Y B{censored}k and I believe it was Wendy S - sister and Wendy Y - wife but maybe the other way around.  Karen stayed with Wendy the sister of Peter] which was Karen's step cousin that Karen stayed with from September 1978 to June 1979) in June 1979 and she had told both Karen and me that after Harold's mom passed away, Harold kind of sat on his step mom's couch for a bit.  After Harold left home and moved in with his aunt and uncle (I met Gertrude in June 1979 as well) then Harold seemed to get out a bit more and be more active than when he would be when he was at his dad's and mom's (later step mom's) house.  The other part, I remember the relatives also saying that they were glad that Harold met Agnes and that Agnes was 'one of the Carpenters' as Agnes "put a fire under his keister" so to speak.  Before Agnes, Harold hadn't really seemed too interested in women.  The Carpenter family loved Agnes as she was very much like most of the Carpenter women, the 'no nonsense' type.  More good reading.  There is definitely a lot more family history that I know about from the Carpenter's side of the family.  I met a lot of the Carpenter's side of the family in June 1979.  Susan (Seal) Carpenter was married to Thomas Carpenter and they had their first child when Susan was 13.  Then Thomas met a woman named Elizabeth Ann (Sherlock) Carpenter and they had a son, George Bertram Carpenter.  Problem was that Thomas was already married to Susan.  Oops, the marriage to Elizabeth was annulled.  George was a half brother to Jack, Joe, Charlie, Rose and Florence.  And George married Nellie (Lynn) Carpenter and Nellie was the daughter of Elmer and Emma (Briggs) Lynn.  The family also had a long history of growing old as many of the Carpenters lived into their 80s and 90s and even 100s.  Susan (Seal) Carpenter was over 100 when I met her in 1979.  A nice little tidbit in here as well as Karen had a reddish tint to her hair that she got from the Lynn part of the family.  Karen's grandmother (that passed away in 1927 from pleurisy), Nellie (Lynn) Carpenter, had long reddish hair.  And those with reddish hair are also known for having freckles.  Karen found this out from her family get together in June 1979 that I attended as well.  An excellent family history by Ray here.  There were a few other things as well, but not really needed I guess.  OK, an add in here I guess.  About Karen's middle name.  Karen's great grandfather was Thomas Carpenter and Thomas's mother's name was Sarah Anne (Nash) Carpenter.  After an incident between Harold, Agnes and the seat in a Nash Rambler, Karen's middle name was conceived.  I am not sure about the name Karen though (but Karen was a very caring person so she loved her first name). 

A next section with Karen's autobiography from 1962 I believe.  I think this was supposed to be a separate section but there is not really a header here so unsure.

Gary Sims, Karen's former boyfriend - a slight talk about Karen having boyfriends in here but mostly about the start of Richard and Karen getting into music.  Good section and some personal information provided as well which seems a bit rare in most stuff about Karen Carpenter.  Usually stuff dealing with Karen and such tends to be 'second guessing' and 'mind reading' type stuff from others.

No real heading here but a quote about work ethics by Richard - oops, a little mind reading and second guessing and assuming in the second paragraph here.  I never knew Karen to have an inner conflict really.  It either was or wasn't.  Karen was always one to make a decision and stick to it.  Another nice chapter here and ending on the truth that Karen was just independent and liked doing things on her own and making her own decisions.  A tomboy.

Part Three - Lonely Hearts - Relationships roughly 1972 to 1973.  Not a bad read here.  Differing opinions and such.  Not really nitty gritty type stuff, but a nice overview here.

Quotes by Karen and Randy Bash (I keep thinking Randi, but Randy here) - More relationship stuff and some personal stuff too.  Great section here and it is great having Richard's personal comments about Karen included.  Very revealing and very personal here.  Very accurate too.  Excellent section as it talks about Karen and the real Karen here as yes, Karen was very stubborn when she felt she needed to be.  So this talk of Richard and mom controlling Karen, nope.  Also a part with Richard saying he was more like dad and Karen was more like mom.  Believe it or not, that is actually true.  Richard also talks a little about what he feels may have been the start of Karen's anorexia and mentions straight as a board which I had noticed too in my many talks with Karen.  Karen would just keep trying to lose weight to try and lose her curvy figure and try and be as straight as a board.  Excellent section here.  This book seems to be getting better and better.  A couple slight glitches, but nothing even close to being majorly wrong.  There has also been several insights too which is kind of impressing me.  Great book so far (hoping I don't jinx this).

The section starting by the photos (no quotes) - Great section here and one of my mysteries solved.  I remember Karen mentioning Tony Danza and then John Adrian.  According to the book here, the 'Snickers' sweater was from John Adrian.  Even in the book here they are insinuating the candy bar but according to Karen, the Snickers nickname was because (as everyone knew) Karen snickered (giggled) a lot.  So according to this Snickers was John Adrian's pet name for Karen (and not from Tony Danza).  Cool.  Tony Danza was after John Adrian but isn't mentioned in the book.  Not sure if Karen snuck off to see Tony without Richard knowing (Karen and Richard were both kind of tired of butting into each others's love lives or lack thereof so to speak).  And with Terry Ellis, Richard liked him as stated in the book, but the problem was that they were from two different worlds as the book states.  And Karen also told me that after a week to two weeks of living with Terry, Karen snuck out one day and broke up with Terry over the phone.  Terry was one that liked fine dining and all that and Karen liked being a home body.  Karen said she snuck out because if she had told Terry all the differences they had that it would have probably been at least twelve hours as Karen and Terry just came from two different worlds.  Terry had posh surroundings and Karen was used to a TV and a TV tray with a TV dinner while watching TV programs in pajamas and slippers.  Karen just couldn't adjust to a jet setting type lifestyle.  Also, not sure if Richard ever knew (mom knew) but part of Karen's hospitalization in 1975 was a series of scans and tests to see if the doctors could figure out why Karen had arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).  Karen was diagnosed in 1975 with arrhythmia and the doctors offered to install a pacemaker but Karen refused as Karen would say, "I don't want to be kept alive by a machine".  It wasn't about singing and the microphones and electronics and such, but as Karen would also say about herself, "No artificial additives or preservatives or ingredients, just li'l ol' me.  The way God intended me to be."  And Karen would also say, "God wants me to have a bad heart or else He'd fix it."  The arrhythmia diagnosis was one of Karen's best kept secrets.  And as usual, mom always knew Karen's secrets (Richard knew most, but not all, just as mom knew most, but not all too about Karen).  The Sherwin Bash stuff (it was actually a good move as Sherwin was kind of a touring manager, but not mentioned and after Sherwin they had Terry Ellis fill in for a short bit, but really Jerry Weintraub was more of a TV type manager and not really a road/touring type manager.  So the move from Bash to Weintraub was not really that Bash was a bad manager, but because the Carpenters were changing direction and Weintraub had more TV experience.  But also as stated, there were a bit of tensions after the Neil Sedaka ordeal too.  So it was a good move I feel based on wanting to change from a road band to a TV type persona but the Neil Sedaka stuff is the nail in the coffin and Bash was just not working out at all anymore).  Stuff about Karen losing weight in 1975.  Another great section here.  Lots of useful information as usual with this book.  And as you can tell, there was a lot to sort through as far as stories.  Many personal details, but still some stuff was looked over for length I imagine.  Better and keeps getting more better.  Mostest betterest?

Part Four, The Slope, Karen and Richard quotes - This book keeps getting better even.  Lots of stuff from Richard again.  And my favorite at the end as Karen had told me in 1978 about her 'ministroke' in 1977.  Kind of told me anyway.  Karen had said she had went to the hospital again in 1977 and again they recommended a pacemaker like in 1975.  Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).  But also, in the book here, Richard mentioned that Karen said her face had gone numb.  Those suffering from arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) usually experience a stroke at some point.  Karen's face going numb was a stroke.  I imagine after this that Karen started exercising more to try and keep her heart rate up.  Karen was against a pacemaker and being kept alive by a machine.  In 1978 and later, Karen had always told me that her exercising (at least from 1975 on anyway) was always because of her arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and Karen not wanting her heart to just stop suddenly again like it did in 1975 and 1977.  But Karen had told me that she was in the hospital in 1975 and then 1977 and finally in this book, I saw the 1977 incident mentioned as being a ministroke and Karen's face going numb.  I know that Karen told me they did scans and tests and such in both 1975 and 1977 and that both times nothing turned up as abnormal.  Karen told me that all they could figure out was that when Karen was born, she was born premature and weighed 5 pounds (a 5 pound sack of sugar).  Since there wasn't any blockages or small arteries or veins, the only solution the doctors could offer was a pacemaker which Karen was adamantly against being kept alive by a machine.  And another surprise as from Richard, apparently from what was written here, didn't know about Karen's arrhythmia and the pacemaker stuff.  More mostest betterest plus...

Quotes, Tom Bahler & then Weintraub and Wolfen - OK, Tom Bahler at the beginning here.  What is written in the book was in earlier 1978 I believe.  Karen would also run into Tom in 1979 in New York City while with Rod Temperton and Karen working on her solo album.  To me around May 1979, Karen said that it was just a 'fling' with Tom and that she was trying to help Tom get over his breakup.  Karen never mentioned Tom having a divorce or a daughter to me, but really that information wasn't important anyway.  Karen had mentioned that Tom was having trouble getting over his last relationship and that Tom seeing Karen had evidently got Tom back to at least thinking about seeing other women again.  Then the Bruce Forsyth show with something added by me here.  Actually, at the time, Karen weighed about 104 pounds but she was very toned up and going up three flights of stairs every weekday starting September 6, 1978 until June 22, 1979 minus weekends and several breaks and vacations.  Karen told me that she remembers Richard saying, "I quit" I believe it was on September 3, 1978 and I believe on September 4, 1978 that Karen boarded a plane and flew to New York State (not the city) to live with her step cousin Wendy B[censored]k.  I know Karen attended a meeting on September 5, 1978 and on September 6, 1978, I met Karen after Karen started a job working 7 am to 3 pm weekdays minus vacations and holidays and such.  Karen didn't tell Richard or her mom or others where she had gone.  Towards the end of September 1978, after accessing her bank account, the family figured out where Karen was.  Karen had taken a bit of money out of her account, but she had extra expenses and after Karen accessed her account in New York State in late September 1978, Richard, dad and mom figured out where Karen was and they were fine with it as it was family and gave Karen a chance to try something different and get away from the hustle and bustle of Downey and the music biz and such.  Richard stopped by Karen's work and then step cousin Wendy's place and him and Karen talked that night in mid October I think and Richard went back and told 'the folks (mom and dad)' that Karen was fine so that they didn't worry.  By this meeting time too, Karen and I had figured out the causes of Karen's anorexia and Karen taking time away from touring schedules and studio time and such was helping.  When I first saw Karen on September 6, 1978 she weighed 94 pounds.  Except for a couple relapses, most of the time Karen had stayed over 100 pounds, but she was exercising a lot too and did still look thin.  When Karen left for the Bruce Forsyth show, she weighed 104 pounds, but when she got back was one of her relapses.  If you look at Karen's face during the Bruce show, Karen's face wasn't thin.  Karen's cheek bones would start showing when Karen had been 'backsliding' as she started calling it.  I didn't see Karen's cheek bones showing during the Bruce Forsyth show.  Oh, and side note, after Karen got back from the Bruce show Karen said to me, "You're quite a celebrity over there, but they don't have that show over here so you'll never know it."  Because Karen was nervous, Karen had asked Bruce if he would say 'Ace' during the show as that was my nickname and would help her calm down a little.  And if you watch the show and notice, "the sound is Ace" and wonder why he would say something odd like that, um.  But Karen was nervous during the show as Karen had seen Richard in really bad shape and shaking really bad, so Karen wasn't nervous about doing the show without Richard, but Karen was nervous about Richard getting better and hoping Richard would get help to help himself get better and over his addiction (and Karen had told me about Richard's problem in strict confidence at the time and also about how Karen felt partly responsible after Richard had a motorcycle accident in 1973.  Karen was goofing around, as usual, and Richard had got into an accident to keep a couple other motorcycle riders from hitting Karen after Karen had gone off the beaten path and Karen... Yeah, Karen had a habit of being 'different' and looking for excitement and such and big brother always looked out for younger sis.  But yeah this was the accident mentioned earlier in the book that happened in 1973 where Richard was in casts.  Karen used to keep a picture of Richard in her wallet with Richard in his casts and sitting in a yellow chair.  Karen always had a bit of pride when she was able to tell others, "He's my brother and he saved my life too.  He's so brave."  The things guys do because chicks dig scars).  And as a side note here, Karen was very proud of her brother and in 1973, although Richard is humble, Richard probably did save his careless "live on the edge" sister that time.  Richard sacrificed himself to keep his sister from getting majorly hurt if not killed.  Does that sound like someone that had a huge ego and was all about himself at everyone else's expense?  Regardless of what the rest of you think, I know better from Karen's mouth herself and from my own experience meeting Richard a couple times under unusual circumstances.  Richard ended up in casts and almost ended his career to help his sister.  Karen was always proud and grateful to have a wonderful brother like Richard.  The next part, oops, I was around Karen during the beginning of her solo album.  I remember Jerry Weintraub flying out to New York State to get Karen to sign her new recording contract.  I know Karen's diary read "confrontation about album" (using her pen which had a red and black side and the black ink had dried out at the time) for January 24, 1979 but Karen's solo really didn't come around until probably late March or early April 1979 (and the original producer thought of was Eddie Kramer who recommended Phil Ramone).  The diary entry most likely pointed to the statement (clause) on Karen's new contract that they needed to do a new album (but they had done Christmas Portrait) which was why Karen didn't sign that contract when Paul Williams brought it around in mid October 1978 (I was there for that meeting too).  Karen had still thought Richard had said "I quit" in September 1978 and how were they going to do a new album if Richard had quit.  Richard was pretty upset that Weintraub had to fly out to New York State in late January 1979 to have Karen sign a contract that should have been signed back in October 1978.  So yeah, I remember sitting there and waving "hi" to Jerry Weintraub again after seeing him about a month before with the Bruce show stuff.  I also remember a phone call to Karen's work in probably late March or early April 1979 where I was there when Karen's mom called Karen at work.  Karen was getting pressured to do a solo album but was against the idea.  Richard was out getting groceries so Karen's mom called Karen up while Richard was out and mom told Karen that Richard wanted time off to be with Mary Rudolph and that Richard was seeing Mary but keeping it secret.  So Karen agreed to do her solo album and Eddie Kramer first showed up (after the mom call) in New York State around late March or early April 1979.  Yeah, this part is always messy publicly.  Karen jotted short notes in her diary most times.  Still an awesome read here, but a little messy for once.  Richard had been in the clinic and it was a rough period for Karen and Richard at this time and a lot happened too to try and remember many years later.  Well, 40+ years later and even I am probably a little mixed up as everything just happened so fast as Jerry Weintraub was pushing to get this going.  But I remember it going something like this...

6. The actual start of Karen's solo album (non fiction version)

In the beginning around late March to early April 1979 there were 7 people that knew about Karen doing a solo album.  Those 7 people in order of knowing were Jerry Weintraub, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Karen Carpenter, step cousin Wendy B------k, me, Richard Carpenter.  Agnes Carpenter found out that Karen and Richard had an argument which was how Agnes (mom) became number 8.  Then Eddie Kramer became number 9. 

Karen and Richard were both wanting to take time off from the music biz but what good is a manager "twiddling his thumbs" with nothing to manage?  Weintraub came up with an idea for Karen doing a solo album and he presented the idea to Alpert and Moss (as the Carpenters were A & M's biggest sellers and A & M was looking for more product to sell and not 'time off').  Alpert and Moss were OK with it as it would possibly be more product and more money for A & M.  So Jerry Weintraub mentioned it to Karen and Karen said NO!!! 

And cousin Wendy and then I got an earful.  Karen wanted time off and Karen was busy doing something not music related and Karen was living in New York State (not the city) with her cousin Wendy and working weekdays with a couple week long vacations while staying with her cousin and working on her arrhythmia and anorexia problems.  Karen was not wanting to go back to work before her 7 to 3 job ended on June 22, 1979.  Karen said NO!!! to Jerry, Jerry, and Herb. 

Jerry, Jerry and Herb next approached Richard and Richard and Karen had an argument and Karen said NO!!! yet again and why should Karen give up her time off and why didn't Richard do a solo album or greatest hits album or such and why did it have to be on Karen's shoulders?  Why did Karen have to sacrifice her time off especially since Karen was the one who sacrificed with the Bruce Forsyth show and such. 

Karen was livid and fuming.  Mom found out that her son and daughter were having an argument and intervened.  Richard was out getting groceries one day and mom called Karen up at Karen's work and mom had a talk with Karen about what was going on.  I was in the room with Karen, so I heard this call.  Anyway, mom asked Karen to do this as a favor for her brother ("whatever it was" as mom put it) and that mom would make sure that any favor that Karen asked for in return would be granted from Richard. 

Mom told Karen that Richard wanted time off as Richard had just started seeing Mary Rudolph and that was all it took for Karen to agree to do 'her' solo album.  Karen was tired of her brother meeting all these "gold diggers" and Mary was an adopted cousin (not blood relation) and not a gold digger.  Karen LOVED playing match maker.  So Karen jumped on board for her solo album and the primary favor Karen asked for was that she finish her job until June 22, 1979. 

The finishing job favor was kept (there was a problem in mid May 1979 and the favor was kept as Richard intervened and Richard got to meet me, the reason why Karen was wanting to finish her job.  And Richard also kept me a secret as me was 14 years old at the time and Karen and I were spending time together but Karen and I had also agreed that we would wait till I got older as my age was a bit of a legal problem so Karen and I had a rule of no physical touching.  And imagine the mess if the press got a hold of Karen around a 14 year old and Richard with his adopted first cousin.  Yes, goody four shoes had some possible publicity problems at this time).  I was around Karen and Karen was in the local hospital on one day, but that was the only day she missed on her job and Karen finished working that job on June 22, 1979. 

The other favors were between Karen and Richard (and the "we split the cost" favor was brought up between Karen and Richard a couple times and the end decision was between Karen and Richard themselves, but Richard was asked to pay half as it was only fair since Richard was the one that wanted time off to be with Mary, but Karen was almost to the point of "why don't you pay all of it Richard since you want the time off so bad?" but I am pretty sure Karen did stick with half as "that was fair" but Karen would write the check and Richard would put half of that amount in Karen's account [shhh]). 

Then they contacted Eddie Kramer...  (And I was there when Eddie Kramer came out to New York State and talked with Karen and asked Karen to try someone else as Eddie was used to artists that did their own material and Eddie would feel like a "fish out of water" just like Karen would be a "fish out of water" without her brother and Eddie mentioned that he usually inspired his artists to write their own material with the "raison d'etre" [reason of being, purpose] speech which was where Karen had the melody of "I wanna uh with you, uh, uh, uh, uh" pop into her head which later Rod Temperton and Karen turned into the "Rock with You" song in May 1979).  Eddie was the one who recommended Phil Ramone as a producer.

And thinking back again, I am not quite sure what Jerry said and did with Richard actually as I was getting that second hand from Karen.  I seem to remember like above but possibly that maybe instead of going to Richard that Jerry Weintraub had told Karen that if Karen didn't do a solo album that Jerry would have Richard do a solo album or a greatest hits album or such.  From there it may have gone back to Karen (with Richard being moved to after Wendy and I) and then Karen may have talked to Richard and then mom calling.  I think above is probably more accurate, but not totally sure now.  I do remember positively that Karen did NOT want to do her solo album but her brother and others talked her into it.  I do also know that at no time did Richard or his mom ever say anything against Karen doing a solo album as if they had, Karen would not have done it.  I also know for sure that Richard talked her into it with "maybe you could learn some new tricks from Phil that might help us" and "you could try things that you wouldn't be able to do with the Carpenters" and "you don't have the voice for disco" aka "no disco" which as anyone knows, if you try to tell Karen she isn't able to do something it is the same as challenging her to do it.  And the big part is that after Jerry Weintraub had Karen sign the new recording contract, Jerry saw the 'new album' clause and that was how "Karen's solo album" started.  It was Jerry Weintraub's idea originally.  And yeah, the solo album was a mess from the start and just kept getting worst.  Richard was out in Downey; Karen was in New York State; and Eddie Kramer then Phil Ramone were in New York City.  A secret mess (so many secrets in so many ways).  Whether Richard was actually seeing Mary Rudolph at the time or if it was a plan of mom and Karen's, Karen's mom saying that Richard was seeing Mary Rudolph was the real reason behind Karen doing a solo album so that Richard could take time off and an album would be done for that contract clause (that had already been fulfilled by the 'Christmas Portrait' album).

Quotes, Sandy Holland and Harold (dad) - This section is probably what people are talking about.  Yes, there is a lot of speculation here that really does not pan out.  There are a couple pieces of input from Richard, but for the most part most of this stuff is disjuncted and irrelevant to Karen's actual story outside of theories that really don't pan out in Karen's case (and many others's cases too).  This isn't fiction type writing though as it is sectioned off and ideas not stated as being facts.  As such, others taking this stuff out of context as being 'gospel' so to speak instead of ideas is taking this out of context.  The context of this is supposed to be "I don't know, but here are some people with ideas".  As you read the ideas and what else is in the book, you realize that these ideas were not going to help Karen and that Karen (and those like her) are helpless unless someone can go beyond guessing and ask.  This part is a bunch of assumptions and yes, these assumptions don't work for Karen and others too.  It worked for Cherry (Boone) O'Neill.  But yeah, one size fits all doesn't work with all anorexics as all people with eating disorders do not have the same problem.  And that problem is not that they don't eat but a problem of why don't you eat?  And by me asking that, Karen told me.  And a repeat here of Karen didn't eat 4 hours before performing or 4 hours before sleeping.  And as a joke, Karen didn't eat an hour before swimming (instead of the usual half hour).  And then Karen also said, "It is weird but when I start losing weight, I start getting these thoughts in my head that all kids are attractive.  And with that thought, all kids are straight as a board and don't have any curves.  After I get down too much I start feeling like guys are thinking I am more attractive and some guy is just going to rape me some day.  So then I start eating again.  I've never been raped or such but I just get this weird cycle in my head.  I don't know why; I just do."  So Karen would try to be thin enough to not have any curves which is impossible for a grown woman who has large hips (large hips - a Carpenter woman trait which the Carpenter women called "Crisco, fat in the can.").  As Karen said it was a vicious cycle in her head.  But as far as for attention or for love or such, not in Karen's case.  Karen not eating in 1974 and 1975 originally started as a result of the touring schedule and such.  Empty stomach.  No eating 4 hours before sleeping or performing.  Karen lost weight with a hectic touring schedule.  After losing so much weight, Karen collapsed and they discovered arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).  The arrhythmia never went away and in 1977 Karen had a ministroke.  But Karen wasn't looking for her mother's love or that kind of stuff.  So yeah, these are ideas but they wouldn't work in Karen's case.  The classic line, "starving for attention" doesn't work in Karen's case as Karen never starved for attention.  Answers are answers, but after Karen passed away, no definitive answers but a lot of speculation like the stuff written in this section that just doesn't explain what actually happened as it doesn't match what happened.  Hyperglycemia?  Where did that come from?  Exactly.  Honest, Karen Carpenter and Cherry (Boone) O'Neill are not the same people.  So why do so many try to twist Karen's story to try and match Cherry's story?  Hyperglycemia?  Where did that come from?  Exactly.  Nothing definitive; just guessing still even 11 years later and like Richard states still no answers that work for Karen.  Even after having someone write a 359 page book about it.

Part Five - Bi-Coastal Blues - Solo album talk.  Not really detailed actually but a nice overview.  Like I stated above, "secrets".  There was a heck of a lot more behind the scenes on Karen's solo album than could be written in a book twice this size.  I talked with Karen on June 12, 1981 about her solo album and such and it was actually Karen's decision not to release it (not Richard, A&M or such, just Karen).  The idea to shelve it came after Karen had done an interview for Rolling Stone magazine on March 17, 1980.  After that interview, Karen realized that the press was going to try and use this to try and publicly make it sound like Richard and Karen were ending The Carpenters and Karen was going solo.  The main reason that Karen shelved "A Can of Worms" as she called it was because of all the publicity concerns.  As far as the music, it was lackluster musically and didn't have any zing so to speak, but with Karen's name on it, the album probably would have sold somewhat just because of her name.  And that was the big problem, the album really wasn't "Karen Carpenter" but was really just "A Can of Worms" and a publicity nightmare.  Karen shelved it.  Richard wasn't really involved in this outside encouraging Karen to do the album and in the studio with A&M during that playback in LA.  As with all stuff written about Karen's solo album, really, Karen was hoping it flopped and with that, you don't release an album hoping that it flops.  You just don't release the album.  Yes, there was a lot more than written here.  Yes 2, why didn't Phil Ramone mention Rod Temperton?  OK, um, you know that song "Rock with You"?  Well, Rod wrote it based on ideas from Karen after Karen had a melody for a song stuck in her head after Eddie Kramer visited Karen back in late March or early April 1979.  The original lyric from Karen was "I wanna uh with you, uh, uh, uh, uh" which Rod Temperton changed and added the verses and bridge and such.  And so, behind the scenes, Karen honestly wanted to 'stick it' to Phil Ramone if possible after that song had been given away.  Phil kept having Rod sabotage Karen's recording of the song and Rod was under contract with Phil and if Rod didn't do what Phil wanted...  With the album having Karen's name on it, it would have sold, but without being released at all...  Karen shelved "A Can of Worms".  Had Karen still been alive, "A Can of Worms" would have probably been the actual title to that record if it had ever been released as such.  And at a half million, um, er, uh, that's about two Carpenter albums production costs there.  And another side note, around May 1979 Phil had what is known as "the Ultimate Injunction" placed against him where all of his assets and bank accounts and such were frozen.  How do I know [whistling sounds heard in background and footprint sounds heard walking away]?

Jerry Weintraub quote - Thomas Burris stuff and a mention of Tony Danza here.  I still keep thinking Tony was mentioned by Karen back in 1978 with the John Adrian stuff.  BJ & The Bear show (which Tony didn't get) was mentioned by Karen as during this time it would have been "Taxi" and before Tony did "Who's the Boss?" (which there is a private story about that too, but shhh).  Time frame off maybe?  Anyway, um, I met Tom on June 18, 1981.  Karen had been telling me it was over between them but...  There was other stuff too.  But Karen told me details of her wedding but also that she was going to be getting ready to get a divorce too.  When I first saw Karen on June 12, 1981 after two years away, she weighed 94 pounds.  By the next week she was up to about 110 pounds.  Anyway, a not too detailed section about Karen and the times leading up to her marriage and the event at the end.  Yeah, the few sections have been off a bit as Karen's later life always gets messy to talk about so to be expected I guess.

Karen and Debbie Cuticello quotes - Starts off with the Levenkron stuff.  And I appreciate Ray calling information into question as a couple parts here.  Karen Burris on the label (as Karen didn't have any identification for a Karen Burris).  The '10 pills a day' comment with a 250 pill bottle and 107 pills left (yeah, do the math there).  The August 1981 date on the bottle which was found in January 1982.  the 1 on the bottle instead of .1 for the amount.  Also, Karen told me that this was done on her initial visit and that Karen had a list of 6 things (that Karen didn't know what they were).  Levenkron tells a different story here as Karen had told me what had happened.  Karen and Itchie had gone together into Levenkron's Clinic together on the initial meeting.  At the initial meeting Levenkron had grabbed Karen's purse and then dumped the contents out on his desk with Itchie there.  Six pill bottles which Karen had no idea what they were or where they came from.  I had also asked Karen, "Was there anyone around you and Itchie?" and Karen had told me that no one was around them down the hallway and to the elevator, but when they got in the elevator there were two gentlemen in dark suits that were by the back of the elevator (these two were at the back and far enough away and also Karen had her arm over her purse too) and then no one around them when they got to Levenkron's.  When Karen talked to me on February 3, 1983 she told me, "...apparently I'm a kleptomaniac too that raids people's medicine cabinets while sleepwalking...".  But that was one thing and Karen mentioned six, where are the other 5 pill bottles or such?  The other part, author Steven Levenkron, not doctor or Md or PhD, author of a fiction book.  Story different here and like with Phil and Itchie Ramone and others, usually changing stories means someone is not being open about stuff.  As far as Karen being open with Levenkron, nope.  Karen told me that after that first visit and all that stuff that Karen used to lie to Levenkron as she trusted Levenkron even less than Tom Burris.  And Karen even said to me that Levenkron was more of a manipulator than Tom ever thought of being.  Karen loved the book "The Best Little Girl in the World" but Levenkron was nothing like his book would suggest.  Karen said that personality-wise, Levenkron was very cold and calculating and not emotional.  But good information here and some details.  The details are a bit off which is why people usually don't give details too often as if information is a bit off then things get questioned.  Ray is doing an excellent job and providing details is part of the job of a non fiction writer / biographer.  A good section here and some great insights as well.  Karen weighed 78 pounds when she checked in the clinic in January 1982.  Karen weighed 77 pounds in September 1982 when Karen ended up at Lennox Hill.  And a talk I remember from back in either late 1978 or ealy 1979 between Karen and me.  Karen had snuck in and saw my school records which included the Myers-Briggs test (4th grade so 1975 I believe for myself) and Karen just had that "oh my God" look on her face.  Karen told me that I had tested INFJ (later the -A was added) and so had Karen.  Introvert (Extrovert) iNtuitive (Sensing), Feeling (Thinking), and Judgemental (Prospecting) and added Assertive (Turbulent).  Karen and I (and shh, Richard too) had the same results and Karen had already heard that that was the rarest personality type (as she had it too and Richard also).  But we were both kind of shocked about that (especially the T / F part as both Richard and I were 'thinkers' however, the thinking of this test does not involve emotions and Richard and I thought with emotions and not just 'thinking' per se.  Richard, Introvert of course but Karen and I were both 'people persons' however the Introvert label is based more on if a person can handle being alone as a true extrovert needs to have people around them whereas an Introvert [for this test] can take it or leave it so to speak).

Itchie and Karen quotes - Lots of nice discussions here and some details as well.  Some assumptions too.  Well worth reading.  Some insights as well.  After leaving, Levenkron and Karen did still call each other three times a week.  Oh yeah, there was more than just Karen that Levenkron lost, but the thing was, like with Karen, the ones that were lost had all left the program.  And honestly, Levenkron's program did not help Karen.  Karen told me afterwards (February 3, 1983) that she had just been saying what Levenkron wanted to hear and that the stuff was motivational based (and like her dad, Karen wasn't really a motivated person most times) and was not helping at all as it was mostly slogans and such (Karen wasn't too much for advertisements / commercials).  After leaving, Karen and her mom made a rule that Karen only weighed herself once a week (Friday mornings) and from leaving in November until she passed away (with a couple 'fell off the wagons', but only a couple) Karen had been staying around 108 pounds after leaving the hospital.  Also, Karen didn't have identification for 'Karen Burris', but she was also not one to want publicity so trying to check in under 'Karen Burris' at the hospital is probably what happened there.  Another great chapter again.

When Time Was All We Had lyric quote (Richard) - Last book chapter before 'Author's Notes'.  In the book, Richard and Wolfen are chatting with Karen together.  I have heard this three different ways now.  During the "Only Yesterday" documentary, Richard said it was in a parking lot with their Jaguars side by side.  In another crockumentary (Goodbye To Love crockumentary is a crock) they show it as a recording studio.  I have a feeling the book is accurate here with it being in Wolfen's office.  But maybe not.  The Jaguar still sounds about right too and it may have been a continuation or such.  It is what it is.  The dialogue here sounds more accurate between Karen, Richard and Werner in the book.  "A loss of appetite for nervous reasons" - that was it.  Karen was nervous about eating before sleeping or performing.  From there it became worst.  It wasn't about family or control or that kind of stuff but honestly about nervousness and her feeling that she couldn't sleep or perform on a full stomach (Karen would get butterflies in her stomach before performing - nervousness).  However, that 'distorted perception of self' stuff wasn't Karen.  Karen didn't have underlying issues, but was just nervous about eating and not being able to sleep or perform.  Then around early 1978 Karen noticed an odd thing happening where after Karen started losing too much weight, Karen would start getting justifying thoughts of "All kids are cute and attractive" and since little girls are straight as a board, Karen kept trying to appear 'straight as a board' (which being a woman and curvy...).  If Karen kept her weight up, this 'little girl' image wouldn't kick in.  It seemed to be a justifier to Karen of why she needed to lose the weight so that Karen was attractive and 'cute' like a little girl.  So again, great read here.  Some stuff a little off as with all psychobabble (All people make mistakes.  Experts never make mistakes.  Experts are just figments of their own imaginations) but ideas are presented which I feel help demonstrate how difficult it is to deal with stuff dealing with Karen.  Facts are facts and ideas are ideas.  Many facts presented and a few ideas thrown in too.  People taking ideas as 'facts' are not really reading this book properly.  And the ideas as possible facts is the small negative here in this book as some readers can take things the wrong way if they don't read carefully.  What I call the 'psychobabble' chapter is an excellent example of this.  Therapists and such provide ideas about anorexics, yet most of these ideas don't really fit Karen as Richard points out.  When read properly, it demonstrates that the therapy was a bit off and wasn't working for Karen which was what the intention was behind including the therapist's comments and Richard's commentary on those (self-proclaimed expert's) comments.  When read improperly, people think that the therapist (psychiatrist, whatever) knows what they are talking about because they are a therapist and so the therapist must know about this stuff and what does Richard know as Richard isn't a therapist?  Richard was Karen's brother.  Karen and Richard were very, very close to each other.  Richard knows.  I was good friends with Karen too and I know as well.  A lot of that stuff from therapists in this book was way off and many times almost completely opposite of reality with Karen.

Author's Note - Ray's conclusion here.

Not a perfect book by any means but definitely more personal details included here than I have seen in many other books, movies or documentaries.  I have had heard many say that this was 'gutted' by Richard.  Nope.  Richard did provide a lot of insight throughout and it shows here.  Honestly, there are a few things that Richard has been hiding, but Richard has never covered up for himself or his family.  Richard's contributions greatly helped keep this book from going overboard with the speculations and assumptions so prevalent in many other works (stories really) dealing with Karen.  Actually, the information too is fairly well documented and I don't feel the 'fiction' label applies here.  I also feel that Ray got a bad rap over this.  Others tried to sidetrack and thankfully Ray followed Richard's guidance before it went overboard.  Actually as you read through and the psychobabble shows up here and there, Richard's commentaries are greatly appreciated and very accurate too.  I included (on this page here) my experiences as well.  And honestly, the attacks on Richard are disgraceful especially since, if you've noticed, Richard never once said, "In 1973 I saved Karen's life."  Karen would say that in private about how brave her brother was and such, but in all seriousness, unlike others, Richard and Karen weren't ones to brag about themselves.  Richard and Karen did many things to be proud of, but they were also proud of others and their accomplishments too.  As far as self-esteem problems with Karen, nope.  Karen never felt inferior but also didn't feel superior to others either.  Equals.  And Karen wasn't one to hide things either (although publicly, you don't want to make a scene and draw attention to yourself or talk bad of others).  Karen was well-known for just blurting stuff out (if she could, she would usually make a joke, but in a serious situation, Karen would just tell it like it is which was part of Karen's charm.  Honesty).  Honestly, I was glad (and I wrote it too) to have finally got and read this book.  I had heard bad things about it and bad things from people claiming to have read this.  I have a feeling that there are a bunch of people out there that have reading comprehension issues as what I heard from others does not match what I read here (from December 29, 2020 to January 1, 2021).  And even worst is these oddballs that talk about how Karen's heart just exploded and all this other mumbo jumbo when the autopsy report states that Karen's heart was not damaged and her heart was only slightly smaller than normal.  The autopsy report itself contradicts itself if you read it carefully as the stuff written on the top page is not really supported later.  So it is a big mess trying to make heads or tails of that stuff if you don't have a decent medical knowledge (to know that some stuff isn't supported and doesn't sound quite right or accurate).  And since the USA is currently 24 out of 25 developed countries as far as standardized test scores, small wonder as I have driven school bus and I can honestly say that most of those in school nowadays are not taught squat as far as anything useful in life.  I applaud Ray Coleman for what he did to bring this book foreward.  Ray did include stuff that was contradictory but also explained why.  Being that I knew Karen personally, I know a bit more of the 'secret' stuff than most others.  Knowing that, I know that the stuff that was included was a wise choice on Ray's part.  Unlike most other stuff written about Karen, this book documented stuff instead of trying to "write a story" based on preconceived notions and ideas.  That, I feel, was the greatest part of this book.  And I know (at the time in 1994) with all that was known and unknown, I feel excellent in that Ray dealt with the information he had as best as he could.  Ray didn't write a 'story' but more like a documentary with information as best as possible including conflicting ideas that the reader is allowed to decide instead of the reader being told what the reader can and can not think.  Very rare.  A lot of the stuff involving Karen's death and such was very speculative (to say the least) and Ray avoided a lot of that stuff which I feel was a good idea as most of that stuff leads to a distorted view with the assumptions and speculations that were available at the time.  The Autopsy report of Karen's being a huge mess still to this day to deal with.  And Happy New Year [aside (mom and dad)].

Advertising blurb here - Four stars (maybe four and a half if possible) excellent book.  Not perfect (hence not five stars) but darned close.  "Definitely a book to add to your non fiction library.  Using this book as a doorstop is a good idea too. Your choice."  PS, get the hard cover instead of the paperback so that it lasts longer.

And for those wondering, yes, I wrote my experiences with Karen here http://www.theeaceman.com/karencarp.html .