In what she calls "the story of a nice Jewish girl who had some amazing fun and went interestingly askew," Krantz, 72, kicks off this memoir with a foretaste of the latter: Riding a train to Paris on the cusp of her 21st birthday, straight-arrow Judy Tarcher vows to bed the first man who asks her. Though her first time (with a French count) was "perfectly dreadful," she did it her way, just like the plucky heroines of her novels Scruples, Princess Daisy and Mistral's Daughter.
Krantz spins her tales of ambition out of her own privileged life. Her liberal and cultured parents—father Jack, a Manhattan ad exec, and mother Mickey, a lawyer—hung Renoirs on the wall and whisked their three children to Europe on the Queen Mary. During Krantz's marriage to producer Steve Krantz she became a devoted housewife and mother. But bored with her Beverly Hills life, Krantz wrote Scruples (1978) and has since churned out nine more bestsellers. Until this lively autobiography peters out at the end, it's a joy ride. (St. Martin's, $25.95)