SMILE, HONEY by Anabel Donald


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Another Donald novel in the same aggressively cheerful mood as Poor Dear Charlotte (1987), this one billed as a ""comedy of manners"" but, at heart, a farce with a long fuse and very little pop. Donald's romp is about Sarah ""Honey"" Markham, an actress with a million-dollar smile, which her friend Matilda notes is practiced ""For them, never for you. Never because you're happy or pleased or amused."" Honey is particularly low as the book begins, thanks to her breakup with longtime, live-in lover Steve, who's gotten her pregnant, and is hustling her toward an abortion. Poor Honey, a child star who never grew up, is also illiterate, severely dyslexic, and barely able to handle her own affairs. But a miscarriage forces her to take a look at her life: what she decides she wants is independence and a child--so off to an American sperm bank she goes. Meanwhile, her friends weave tangled webs around her: Matilda fends off the advances of married playwright Ben; the ineffectual book-publisher Toni Wyatt falls hopelessly in love with Honey, even though Matilda tells him that his chances of becoming her lover are ""the square root of sod all""; and Honey's bisexual friend, Jacky, searches for a new rich, aging lady-love and cash cow. And in the end, Honey will return to England with her precious vial of sperm, only to engineer her own disappearance, so that she can raise her baby in splendid anonymity. Donald's fiction is as irreverent and imaginative as some of Fay Weldon's, but without the bite--which leaves it in danger of blowing away in its own breeziness.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Mercury House--dist. by Consortium (213 East 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55101)