October 6, 2009
Mommy’s Little Girl in no way can be construed as a pro- Casey Anthony book.
Author Diane Fanning tirelessly recounts the young woman’s lying ways, theorizes how Anthony might have disposed of her daughter and concludes that Anthony is “an individual whose self-absorption and insensitivity to others is a destructive force.”
The book, which goes on sale Nov. 3 and is the first about Anthony or the case to be released, is a straightforward, no-frills narrative about how events unfolded after the disappearance of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony. Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in her daughter’s death.
The book, from St. Martin’s Press True Crime Library, may be premature in a case that hasn’t gone to trial. Yet Anthony’s history of deceit is astonishing, and Fanning briskly pulls together the litany of lies in readable form. Fanning means business, avoids levity and saves her insights for the afterword.
Fanning is exhaustive over 339 pages, and the results can be exhausting. The author can’t help it if Casey Anthony emerges as something of a bore, a bad seed who’s simply pathetic. She is a vapid young woman who would mislead family and friends, swing from one boyfriend to the next and steal repeatedly.
“Casey is the biggest liar in history,” wrote her uncle Rick Plesea, Cindy Anthony’s brother, in an e-mail to his mother. “She would rather spin lies than find Caylee. She thinks it is a game.”Rick writes that Casey makes George and Cindy “look like the stupidest parents ever in the entire world.”
Rick’s last name has been changed to Cuza, the book says, to protect the privacy of Cindy’s birth family. Fanning thanks him for sharing his personal experiences, a tipoff that the book won’t go easy on the Anthonys.
Fanning divides the book in parts — The Disclosure, The Past, The Crime and The Discovery — that are made up of short chapters. The Past notes that Cindy Anthony was nicknamed “The Princess” in her family. The book touches on the Anthony family’s money problems, George’s gambling and Cindy’s realization she couldn’t afford a divorce.
Mommy’s Little Girl traces George and Cindy Anthony’s media interviews and their support of Casey. Why the couple shifted from desperately trying to find Caylee to backing their daughter as a perfect mom will have to be explained in another book.
Fanning takes liberties in writing about what people were thinking and in imagining what happened to Caylee. For the most part, however, she sticks closely to the documented record, and she brings the book back to Caylee, the victim “who mattered the most.”
She was a rambunctious child who could count to 45 in Spanish. And she’s still the reason that this story matters.
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