Margot Mifflin
August 30, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A House of Secrets

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Patti Davis
publisher
Birch Lane Press
genre
Fiction

We gave it a D

AA fictionalized indictment of her mother, Nancy Reagan, Patti Davis’ A House of Secrets is an afterthought to her first matricidal effort, Home Front, and a prelude to the tell-all autobiography Putnam has paid her a reported half-million dollars to write. Energetically self-serving, the novel chronicles the emotional torture of a young writer, Carla, by her sharp-tongued mother, Rachel. Even with so promising a model as Nancy Reagan to go by, Davis’ book never quite becomes the Mommie Dearest she obviously envisioned. No doubt this is because Davis has nothing except mildly tasteless revenge to exact: She condemns the widowed, stroke-afflicted Rachel to a wheelchair, where she spends her golden years dribbling soup on her chin. So much for coming to terms with childhood. D

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