Picks and Pans Review: Bog-Trotter
by Dory Previn
Previn's song lyrics are printed in the manner of e.e. cummings—without capital letters or punctuation. The device contributes to the impression that this "autobiography with lyrics" is an aimless collection of fragments, as in this sample from an early song: "we've a good side/and a bad side/we've a bright side/and a sad side/and the right hand/never knows/what the left/will do." The slight paragraphs of prose between the lyrics cover the same trauma of the author's earlier books: her childhood with a demented father, the shame of her "bog-trotter" (poor Irish) origins, her terror of Catholicism, affairs, an abortion, marriage to André Previn, its breakup and her breakdowns. She drops Hollywood names and says mean things about Mia Farrow, the actress Previn later married. The book is the continuing confession of a painfully sensitive woman with a split personality. Her neuroses get to be tedious, but the bright waif who wants desperately to be loved is appealing. (Doubleday, $12)
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