I love true crime and I am just as fascinated by celebrities in Hollywood as the next Westernized woman. I mostly remember Natalie Wood from my all time favourite Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, when she was all of nine years old, but I remember my aunt telling me that that lovely, serious-faced little girl would grow up to be killed by her husband. I learned as I got older that that was not exactly the official story, and that there was a lot more mystery wrapped up in the telling than I understood. So, I decided to give Lana Wood’s account a try. Here are my thoughts.
Lana Wood was Natalie Wood’s 8 years younger sister. Their bond was more cool aunt/enamoured niece than sisterly, due to the age difference and the worldliness that is endemic to child stars in Hollywood. Wood writes of escaping to her sister when she was angry with her mom, and crying when Natalie was married for the first time that she was going to lose her sister.
Most of the information Wood covers in Little Sister can be found online through a basic Google search. This book, while labelled as an investigation into her sister’s death, reads more like a list of grievances and wrongs that Wood felt were done to her by the Robert Wagner (referred to throughout the book as RJ) family – everything from being unable to attend her father’s funeral, to being kept out of family dinners, to being blacklisted from any work in the film industry, to her problems with her daughter, to the fact that she had struggles with finances, and the list goes on.
Rather than spending time reading Little Sister, I recommend many other True Crime books, including the classics – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, and newer books including CHAOS by Tom O’Neill.