In her 1999 autobiography, I Just Kept Hoping, she recalls some of her early film roles after being named one of the 1932 WAMPAS Baby Stars (along with Ginger Rogers and Mary Carlisle). Most of her early films were comedies and what she called "dreadful musicals", and she compared her career with the success of her contemporaries when she wrote:
"Bette Davis, Loretta Young, and Olivia de Havilland were getting wonderful dramatic parts. Why not me? What had I ever done to deserve all this dreck?"
Arguably her best remembered film from this time period remains Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, starring Shirley Temple. Though she never achieved the success of the aforementioned stars, she did get her share of attention, from fans and from the gossip columns:
"Fan letters were a whole new world to me, and gifts arrived in the mail and at my door all the time. Garters were a favorite from men. Combs, barrettes, jewelry, bits and pieces, came from the ladies."
"Publicity could be fun - and confusing. Once a studio publicist made up a story about my nearly stepping on a rattlesnake in my garden. The gossip columns gobbled it up. A couple of years later, looking over Hedda Hopper's column, I read that Joan Fontaine had had a near-fatal encounter with a rattlesnake in her garden. My instant reaction was "Poor Joan!" before I caught myself, laughing."