Darlene Craviotto is a real life heroine! This book invoked every possible emotion while I read it. I purchased “An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House” and read it in one day. My nose stayed glued to my iPad! I can say that happens with a good novel, but not nonfiction. I think I’ve read five in my life, most of them on writing.
In her book, Darlene takes us behind the scenes of Hollywood screenwriting, and a peek into the intriguing, yet mysterious, world of the King of Pop.
She opens her book with news from her agent, of a once in a lifetime opportunity, to work with Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg, on “Project M”. Project M was a re-creation of Peter Pan, with Michael as Peter. However, Darlene faced a huge problem. Since a car accident, Darlene deals with agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia by definition on Wikipedia: “is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where it is perceived to be difficult or embarrassing to escape. These situations can include, but are not limited to, wide-open spaces, and uncontrollable social situations such as may be met in shopping malls, airports, and on bridges.”
As the project moved forward, Michael requested Darlene’s presence at one of his homes, as well as Neverland Ranch, to work on the screenplay. She shares her struggles, fear of leaving her home, and being in an unfamiliar environment. She also worked hard hiding her secret. Darlene’s agent had advised her to never let Hollywood know about her agoraphobia.
Once arriving to the meetings, Darlene writes with a sense of awe at how childlike Michael was in his surroundings, as well as his thoughts and ideas, his shyness, and at the same time, the mega superstar that he was.
Darlene’s writing style and unique voice pull you into the story, as though you are experiencing everything with her. The reader feels her fear and frustration, and cheers as she moves forward one step at a time. She reveals her battle, not only with her anxiety, but being a mother and a professional. At times her children cause a bit of awkwardness that you can’t help but understand and laugh, simply because you’ve experienced the same situation while on the telephone.
What I found so appealing, was Darlene’s down to earth personality. Having several successful screenplays under her belt, the reader never gets the sense that success has spoiled her, but simply blessed to for the opportunity to do what she loves, which pulls you into her book even further.
To learn more about “An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House”, and read the first pages, click here.
Until Next Time…