REVIEW: MY LIFE TO LIVE, BY AGNES NIXON

 

Before there was Erica Kane, Adam Chandler, or Victoria Lord, there was Agnes Nixon, a young girl who dreamed up stories for paper dolls. Those tales she imagined–ones filled with ambitions, rivalries, and romances–would soon parallel her own path to success. In a memoir filled with as much drama as the soaps she penned, Nixon shares her journey from Nashville to New York City, as she overcomes the loss of her fiancé in World War II, a father intent on crushing her writing dreams, and the jealousy of her male colleagues on her way to becoming one of the most successful names in television.

While fans will delight in Nixon’s own incredible life, they will also love her behind-the-scenes insight into her most popular shows. Inside, she shares the inspiration for Erica Kane and how she cast Susan Lucci in the role; an excerpt from the never-before-seen All My Children story bible; entertaining anecdotes about her shows’ beloved casts and special guests, including Carol Burnett, Kelly Ripa, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffett; and more.

But My Life to Live is also a portrait of a pioneer. Driven to use her ratings power for good, Nixon fought and broke network taboos by wrestling with controversial social issues ranging from women’s health, interracial relationships, and the Vietnam War to drug addiction, LGBT rights, and AIDS. By infusing her characters with sensitivity, humor, and humanity, she enabled millions to examine an opposite point of view. And long before Shonda Rhimes launched a golden age of female showrunners, Agnes Nixon positioned ABC to become the media giant it is today. She is a true television legend, and her candid and inspiring glimpse behind the curtain of the television industry will charm soap fans and story lovers alike.

My Thoughts: I became a fan of “soap operas” in the 1960s when I first had some time at home in the daytime. Guiding Light was one of my favorites, and Agnes Nixon was a writer on that soap for a while.

One Life to Live, another of her creations, was one I first saw in the 1970s, and then again just before the show went off the air. By the time it was canceled, I was hooked. And happy to hear that it would go online, along with All My Children, which I had just started watching. But that happy dream did not last long.

She has, rightly, been touted as the Queen of Soaps, and reading how she came to write for soaps in a world dominated by men was definitely engaging.

Her own life could have been a soap drama, with losses and conflicts, not to mention seeing racism up close and personal in her hometown. Using what she knew and what she had lived in her stories, and bringing social relevance to daytime, would be her trademark. It was how she captured the love of the fans. A memoir that drew me in from the first pages, My Life to Live earned 5 stars from me.

***

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10 thoughts on “REVIEW: MY LIFE TO LIVE, BY AGNES NIXON

  1. Great review!

    I watched the first episode of General Hospital, which luckily was on after I got home from school, with my mom. I was only 6 yrs. old, but I was hooked from the first show. Then came One Life To Live and All My Children. My mom and I would sit through all 3 from Mon.-Fri., and even after I got married I watched them for many years.

    After reading your review I did a search for it and got the audiobook.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t heard of her but I guess that isn’t surprising. Reading the blurb and your review she seems to be way ahead of her time. Even though I didn’t know of her until now it is the kind of life I would certainly enjoy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kathryn, I really loved that she fought her way into a world usually inhabited my men, and brought out daytime shows that women loved. Even my teenage sons sometimes watched on summer breaks. There were plenty of male characters on the shows, too.

      Like

  3. I remember my mom ironing and watching The Edge of Night when I was little. When my kids were small I’d watch All My Children and sometimes OLTL while they napped 🙂 Haven’t watched a daytime soap in years but sure enjoyed Agnes Nixon’s shows!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved Guiding Light and As the World Turns when I was young, and later discovered all the other shows. I think it’s sad that AMC and OLTL were canceled in 2011, although they were online for a few months.

      Now GH is bringing on some of the characters from those shows; the lawsuit by the online company against ABC was dismissed (for using some of the characters in GH).

      Thanks for visiting, Mary, and I’ll bet you can tell I really loved these shows.

      Like

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