cover image Dream Doll: The Ruth Handler Story

Dream Doll: The Ruth Handler Story

Ruth Handler. Longmeadow Press, $19.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-0-681-00763-5

The history of Barbie, created by Handler and her husband Elliot, cofounders of Mattel Toys, is recounted here. The doll, which was ``born'' in 1959 and whose ``big boobs'' aroused controversy at the time, enjoyed such commercial success that the market was expanded to include her boyfriend, Ken, siblings and friends-all with their own wardrobes and accessories. Assisted by Shannon (Why It's Great to Be a Girl), Handler also bitterly recalls her 1970 mastectomy and forced resignation from Mattel in 1975, after she was indicted for preparing false financial records. Though she denied her guilt, in 1978, she entered a plea of nolo contendere because, she says, she did not want to ``jeopardize'' her latest commercial venture after leaving Mattel-a breast prosthesis business. This self-serving memoir reclaims Handler's ``motherhood'' of Barbie. Author tour. (Nov.)