Suzanne Ruta
May 27, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story

Current Status
In Season
Annette Funicello, Patricia Romanowski
Memoir, Pop Culture

We gave it a C-

”Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative,” counsels the old popular song. Good advice if you’re coping with chronic illness, like ’50s pop icon Annette Funicello, now middle-aged and battling multiple sclerosis. Bad advice, on the other hand, if you’re writing your memoirs. Funicello’s as-told-to autobio, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story, is bland, smarmy, and unconvincing. Although she warmly praises Walt Disney, who guided her career in TV, rock music, and film, another message comes through between the lines: Disney was cheap, docking his child stars’ salaries when props were mislaid. He was also mercenary, marketing no fewer than 200 Mickey Mouse Club products to young TV audiences in the 1950s. And he was prudish, even requesting that Funicello, still under contract to him in her early 20s, not bare her navel in beach-party films. Her willfully upbeat celebration of the 1950s makes you glad they’re over. C-

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