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Book cover – Catching the Crown Just the facts, Miss”Catching the Crown: The Source for Pageant Competition”by Lu Parker

Published in 2000 by Burke Publishing Co., San Antonio. ORDER NOW

Reviewed by Cilla Rokni

OK, so the PNB guidelines say a reviewer is supposed to judge a book “strictly on its merits.” She’s not supposed to care about who wrote it. But the fact that the author of this book is Lu Parker — not Roseanne or Richard Simmons or Newt Gingrich — made a big difference to me. Ms. Parker is a former Miss USA, a former finalist at Miss Universe. If I were going to take anybody’s advice about pageant competition, it would be hers.

She imparts her advice very ably. This is a straightforward, well-organized, practical manual, written in the style of a sympathetic big sister. The material is presented chronologically, with sections about becoming a beauty queen, being a beauty queen and adjusting to life as a former beauty queen.

For handy reference, there are scores of individual topics, marked with prominent headings. And there is an excellent table of contents, so you can quickly find out such things as how to fill out an application, how to organize your time and how to cover your rear end (literally).

The only thing missing from “Catching the Crown” is some really nasty pageant gossip. Surely a woman who has been where Ms. Parker has been could tell some riveting stories, and I would die to hear every one of them. Who was the hottest guy she met? Who was the most treacherous woman? But throughout the book, Ms. Parker advises girls to act prudently and speak carefully, and she follows her own advice. She’s a lady, and ladies don’t write catty books.

If I were an aspiring beauty queen, this book would be in my bag, or maybe under my pillow. Actually, I have no interest in competing, but “Catching the Crown” gave me new insight into what makes pageant women tick. And now that I’ve read her book, I can’t help liking Lu Parker. As beautiful as she is, I like her!

Cilla Rokni is a free-lance writer and sometime PNB staffer. She has promised to review Newt Gingrich’s pageant book, if he ever writes one.

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