The following is an excerpt from the book; The Anorexic Self: a personal, political analysis of a diagnostic discourse written by Paula Saukko.
In 1996 Karen Carpenter's solo album was released. The media reception of Karen Carpenter was contradictory. On one hand, the solo album which had been shelved after being produced in 1979, was framed as Karen's aborted declaration of independence. Many news reports focused on the production of the album, which was shrouded in controversy, by drawing on interviews with Phil Ramone, the producer who helped Karen to go solo, and his wife Karen Ichiuji (aka Karen Kamon). An example is the following story from the English broadsheet Observer/Guardian:
There were glam photo sessions for the album cover. Previously Carpenter had been photographed in matching outfits with her brother (her record company chose the clothes she would wear in the Carpenters photo sessions). When she saw the proofs of one shot, which showed her elegantly coiffed up, made up, and wearing an oversized white sweatshirt, she ran to Ichiuji in a rare outburst of self-worth. "Look at me Itch," she said, "I'm pretty, I'm really pretty." After four or five songs had been completed she flew back to Los Angeles, tape happily in hand. "She was so in awe of Phil and these cool, hip musicians, who were treating her like an equal," Frenda Franklin, Karen's friend says, "she wasn't used to that." Richard Carpenter told Ray Coleman (author of The Carpenters: The Untold Story) that he sometimes wouldn't even tell Karen what she was going to sing until she got to the studio. (Hoerburger 1996)