Picks and Pans Review: Tammy Wynette

updated 05/29/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/2000 01:00AM

A Daughter Recalls Her Mother's Tragic Life and Death
by Jackie Daly

The opening scene in this beautifully written memoir of the beloved country music star proves that even in death, a celebrity is always onstage. In chilling detail, Daly describes the ghoulish situation hours after her mother succumbed to heart failure in April 1998 at home at age 55. The singer's body was curled up in a fetal position on a sofa, Daly writes, "with people milling around like they were backstage at the Opry."

Although Wynette was eventually laid to rest in the usual way, questions about her life—and especially her death—continue to swirl for Daly. Most fans know about such multiplatinum hits as "Stand by Your Man," Wynette's five marriages, major surgeries and bouts with drug addiction—all remembered here by the 37-year-old Daly, with help from veteran Nashville biographer Tom Carter. More troubling are Daly's views of Wynette's fifth husband, George Richey, whose behavior before and after the singer's death Daly finds careless, even reprehensible. Jackie, who didn't hear about Wynette's passing until after the news found its way to the media, is in no mood to forgive. (Putnam, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Compelling but inconclusive

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