Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,173 covers and 55,054 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Duff Goldman's Ice Cream Burritos Are Everything We Want for the Super Bowl, and In Life
- The Style Top 5: Sarah Jessica Parker Brings Her Shoe Line to Zappos, Katy Perry Preps for the Super Bowl and More
- Mother Pleads Guilty to Assault After She Claimed for Years Her Daughters Suffered from Severe Health Problems
- Which Fellow Country Singer Is Keith Urban Crushing On?
- Jennifer Grey on Her Dad Joel Grey's Coming Out: 'I Feel Very Happy' for Him
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Friday January 30, 2015 07:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- February 04, 1980
- Vol. 13
- No. 5
The Daughter Also Rises: Susan Cheever Writes a Novel That Makes Father John Proud
The plot parallels Susan's life, recounting the marriage and divorce of Salley Potter and Jason Gardens, a gifted editor. In 1967 Susan married Robert Cowley, Malcolm's son and now an editor at Random House, and divorced him eight years later. Nonetheless Cheever insists her book is not a roman à clef. "My family was worried," she admits. "I borrowed from my life like a bandit. But Salley is not me. She is a spinoff—calm, less complicated."
As a child growing up in New York City, Susan was unimpressed by her father's literary fame: "It seemed less attractive because I lived with it." When she was 8 the family moved into a small house on the Vanderlip estate in Scarborough, a New York suburb. Susan attended public and private schools, enduring a "miserable childhood reading and eating cookies." At the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry she was an overweight, angry wallflower: "All the girls were blond, blue-eyed and athletic. There was a dead zone around me at mixers."
Life improved at Pembroke College where Susan slimmed down and began dating. "I changed after one guy told me, 'You're too sloppy and sentimental.' " After graduation she taught at a private secondary school in Carbondale, Colo., for a year and a half until she returned to New York and moved in with Cowley, an editor at Horizon magazine. At 24, she married him and concentrated on being supportive. "I was marrying his potential," Susan laughs. "I wanted to be the inspiration for his book. I had always thought that with my energy and his brains and credentials, we could have the world."
Cowley never finished his book, however, and after Susan landed a reporting job on the Tarrytown Daily News, she discovered that she loved her work more than her husband. They broke up and, at 31, she took an apprentice writer's job at News week where she eventually became life-style editor. "I had been a dumpy housewife, then suddenly I was an executive woman. I loved it."
Four years ago Susan met New Yorker writer Calvin "Tad" Tomkins. He left his second wife for Susan and in the summer of 1978 she took a vacation from Newsweek and they went off to France to write their respective books. His Off the Wall is a biography of the artist Robert Rauschenberg, dedicated to Susan; Looking for Work is dedicated to TomKins. They lived in a rented summer house near Cannes. "My book took over," says Susan, who finished it in a breathless eight weeks. "I was depressed at first, then slowly I became happy. I went from being a journalist to being a novelist."
Resettled in a New York one-bedroom apartment, Susan is polishing her second novel while Tomkins, 54, is writing in Vermont. She jogs two miles a day, skis and plays tennis. Calvin often cooks because Susan is impatient with food ("I eat it before I can cook it") and is usually on some kind of diet.
Having become involved twice with men who have children from previous marriages (Cowley had two, Tomkins has three), Susan is mildly concerned about not having her own. "Part of me wants to; part of me doesn't," she says. "I hope it is revealed to me while I can still do something about it." She worries that if she had children her writing might suffer. "Working is like a husband to me," she figures. "It is a big part of my life. When I am not involved with my characters, I get antsy and hysterical."
January 30, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!