Picks and Pans Review: Father: the Figure and the Force

updated 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Christopher P. Andersen

"My father and I are probably closer than most," writes Andersen in his introductory chapter, "but in all the years we shared the same roof, we never really openly shared our fears, frustrations, disillusionments, and apprehensions." Andersen, 34, a senior editor at PEOPLE and author of such previous books as The Name Game and A Star Is a Star Is a Star, a biography of Susan Hay ward, recognized that he was hardly alone in having accepted such a distant relationship with his father. And he launched into an investigation of the widespread estrangement between fathers and their children that's often present—until the parent's death, when the child cannot express the emotion he or she feels. The result is this thought-provoking, readable book, the best kind of pop social science writing. Andersen's sources range from anthropologist Lionel Tiger ("all things being equal, the mother is clearly more important") to actress Diane Keaton, who recalls telling her father of her anxiety about baring her breasts in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. "Don't worry," he reassured her. "They're just a couple of globs of fat on your chest." Andersen also includes original interviews with such people as Katharine Hepburn, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sophia Loren, Lee Iacocca, Erma Bombeck and Henry Fonda, whose experiences with their fathers are as varied as their backgrounds. Andersen acknowledges the importance of one other major contributor to his research—Kate Andersen, 3, his daughter. (Warner Books, $15)

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