A HOUSE OF SECRETS by Patti Davis

A HOUSE OF SECRETS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The former President's younger daughter follows up her bestselling Homefront and Deadfall and Kitty Kelley's Nancy Reagan with a moody, relentlessly introspective story about a moody, relentlessly introspective California girl whose career as a Serious Writer is haunted by memories of life with a brittle, humorless, ambitious, control freak of a mother and a pleasant, vague, rich, and possibly corrupt father. Of course, it would be terribly unfair to try to make this almost certain bestseller about life with a mother from hell who drives one daughter into a suicide attempt and another to early sterilization into Nancy Dearest, or to tie any of its characters with former real-life residents of the White House, since Nancy Reagan had only one moody, introspective daughter and since the pleasant, vague, possibly corrupt father here has white hair and the mean mum has red hair. The daughter with the early sterilization is the narrator Carla Tipton, whose mother seems to hate her more and more as she grows up. Carla's primary sins are her refusal to stop growing or to stop writing moody, introspective, thinly disguised autobiographical scraps of fiction. Poor Carla tries to hide the evidence of her early puberty and the scraps of fiction, but her mother Always Knows, hating her more and more, always preferring Carla's timid little sister Lily. Early sexual experimentation at the local high school lands Carla in a tiny boarding school, where she seduces the dishwasher and becomes more moody and introspective. In college she has an affair with an early but doomed ecofreak and undergoes an ecologically sound Native American herbal abortion followed by voluntary sterilization reversal and ever more distant relations with mum until, on his deathbed, dad reveals shocking family secrets known only to mum and Edward Albee. Floating in a sea of psychoanalytically induced dreams, full of naughty sex, loaded with eerie parallels to the no-longer-First Family, and dreadfully dumb. Should sell millions.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 1-55972-082-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991




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