In one of her sleeker soaps, Steel sets all her situations and her players spinning in dandy synch--to tell the tale of...

READ REVIEW

FAMILY ALBUM

In one of her sleeker soaps, Steel sets all her situations and her players spinning in dandy synch--to tell the tale of beautiful Faye Price Thayer from 1943 Guadalcanal to her 1983 demise. Faye wows the troops in the Pacific with her singing. (It ""ranged from molten lava to melted gold."") She also wows Lieutenant Ward Thayer, who'll surface after the war in Hollywood--where Faye has just tucked away an acting Oscar. And Faye certainly returns the love of the humble officer. But what's this? Ward seems to be Known Around Town, by headwaiters and celebs like Rita Hayworth (""Welcome home, you bad boy, you!"") and the elite! Yes, folks, Ward is none other than the ""playboy heir to Thayer shipyard millions."" So Faye and Ward will wed, to lead a divinely gilded life and produce five children after Faye retires. But this Scott-and-Zelda are headed for Ma and Pa Kettle-dom--when lawyers explain that Ward has run through all the ready and the till is empty. Ward freaks out; sturdy Faye sets about selling houses, vehicles, furs, jewels, etc., and moves the Thayers to a humble four-bedroom house in L.A. Ward sulks, idles, lies and drinks heavily, even has affairs. But Faye now will begin an Ida-Lupino-style directorial career--so the marriage will weather the storms: when Faye achieves Oscar status, she'll help Ward (now repentant and hard-working) to a successful career as a producer-partner. Happy ending? Hardly. Troubles for the Thayers are just beginning--as their children become adults: Lionel tiptoes out of the closet, and is banished from the family by Ward in spite of loyal Faye; Greg, a jock after Dad's heart, is flunking out of Alabama U.; Vanessa, the studious one, seems O.K. (but is her N.Y. beau the right man?); sensuous Valerie, always jealous of Mother, acts in horror operas; and, worst of all, ""baby"" Anne, neglected in the early poverty days, gets pregnant at 14 in Haight-Ashbury. . . and later has a hot affair with her best friend's Dad. However, in spite of a devastating family tragedy, and a scattershot of crises, it'll end with a gloriously saline Oscar ceremony--and a tribute to Faye as ""actress, director, legend, wife, mother, friend."" A polyester pussycat.

Pub Date: March 8, 1984

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1984