The most famous twins in the world, Esther Pauline (Eppie) and Pauline Esther (Popo) Friedman, are the advice columnists Ann...


DEAR ANN, DEAR ABBY: The Unauthorized Biography of Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren

The most famous twins in the world, Esther Pauline (Eppie) and Pauline Esther (Popo) Friedman, are the advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, and this double biography of them has all the snap and snippiness of a grandly gossipy winner (unlike Grossvogel's disappointing Dear Ann Landers, p. 1132). True, the twins have precious little dirt in their lives--but this only throws their biographers into greater efforts at rendering the agonies between the sisters and refining their battles. Says Popo's husband, Mort Phillips, ""If these are twin sisters, I'll take cobras."" Though Eppie was born 17 minutes earlier, Popo eventually became the dominating twin. They carried on a vaudeville act of identicality, forever sucked up attention with their sexy attractiveness. Their first great rift appeared when Popo married multimillionaire Phillips and settled into a world of high conspicuous consumption, while Eppie married Jules Lederer, a workaholic department store clerk, and lived accordingly. Eppie was first to land a column, taking over the Ann Landers advice to the lovelorn slot for the Chicago Sun-Times. Terribly serious Eppie found herself swamped with letters and asked Popo for help. Popo loved making up snappy one-line responses. Then Popo went out and landed her own advice column with the San Francisco Chronicle. Smart Popo also named her own column and copyrighted the name as her personal trademark, so that she owned Dear Abby while Eppie was merely a wage slave. And Popo's was the brighter column. Soon rivals in syndication battles, they stopped talking to each other--for ten years!--but became the world's two top columnists. Later, grown old hat, they updated their stands on ERA, abortion rights, virginity, and divorce. Workaholic Eppie lost Jules to a 25-year-old English girl less than half his age. Popo's most recent trashing of Eppie in a Ladies Home Journal interview has again severely parted them--though Eppie refuses not to forgive Popo, writing: ""I forgive you, sister, now forgive yourself."" Sisters battling with scissors and paste pot brushes--and a most fascinating war it is as seen with Pottker and Speziale's bright vision.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1987