THE HAPPY MEDIUM by Lissa Charell


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Many of the arts, graces and cliches of a best seller earmark this big, fast-paced novel...and it may well hit the jackpot. It concerns back scenes in the TV industry; its major characters are important and frequently sympathetic; its minor characters exhibit a dazzling array of sexual deviations. The writing makes up for some of the formula plotting; it is shrewd, crisp, intelligent, neither sentimental nor lewd, and so economical, despite the endless wisecracks, that its pace is as ulcer-producing as that of the industry it describes. The plot revolves around Melissa Dare, beautiful, blonde 27, an efficient Public Relations Associate for a TV network, whose life (including her affair with Duzz Donovan, married and a network manager) is one crisis after another. Her first day as recorded in the book includes several even murkier life histories, a Congressional Investigation, dealing with stars, shows and scandals. The struggle for power never slackens for an instant, even when the show moves to Florida, where Melissa, recognizing her role as only a part of Buzz's own power play, breaks with him. The young doctor who rescues her is the least convincing of the characters, but he comes at the right moment, like everything else in this book. Part of his weakness (and that of some other ""good"" characters) is that Melissa is so strong. She is remarkable in that she reflects so many ideals and problems of a specific NYC culture:- aware, enduring, outwardly sophisticated, defending personal values at the point of a wisecrack in a dismayingly public and hurried world, she makes this a far more moral book, in a tired way, than many best sellers... and (if you like this sort of thing) a more interesting one.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1960
Publisher: Coward-McCann