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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
  • Bantam USA
  • New York, United States
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • Ill.
  • 0553112562
  • 9780553112566

Review Text

Mother was actress Margaret Sullavan, Father was agent Leland Hayward, and Brooke had one of those legendary childhoods: a separate house for the children, best friends like Jane and Peter Fonda, caviar by the bowlful. . . and Mother's unglamorous haircuts. " 'Children should be seen and not heard' was the doctrine around our house, 'but if they are heard, it better be good and interesting.' " Artfully recreated here, their life was a counterpoint of temperamental extremes: Maggie's imperfect juggling of wife/mother/actress roles and disdain for Hollywood tribal customs, Leland's jovial but involuntary fatherhood and 24-hour work imperatives. As the eldest, Brooke took the lead in Finn-like explorations (California, Connecticut) and appreciated the atmosphere of eccentricity and privilege; everything was excessive, even a case of poison ivy. Sister Bridget, more mercurial, retreated inward early and brother Bill responded with a recklessness that was largely overlooked. Then came Divorce, a stunner for all of them, and an end to this expensive idyll. As adolescents they watched their parents change partners and allegiances, and the psychological warfare was devastating: Bill was repeatedly hospitalized, Maggie and Bridget committed suicide, Leland ultimately succumbed to stress hemorrhages. Brooke alone found some satisfaction (Vassar, modeling, children) although the particulars are obscured. Looking back, she regrets the "extraordinary carelessness" of their lives, but this intricate reconstruction - salted with the comments of Jimmy Stewart, Truman Capote, etc. - is wry and suggestive rather than bitter, and its appeal extends far beyond the late-show audience. (Kirkus Reviews)show more