Patti Davis book hits home

March 12, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Will Nancy Reagan ever feel free to walk into a bookstore again? Besides Kitty Kelley's upcoming tell-all to worry about, now comes word that there's more literary discomfort looming closer to home.

The third novel from Ronald and Nancy Reagan's estranged daughter, Patti Davis, is due out in August.

Ms. Davis describes "A House of Secrets" as a coming-of-age story about a girl "wrestling with the residue" of her relationship with her psychologically domineering mother.

"There are some very autobiographical elements in it," she told the Los Angeles Times recently, offering no details.

So what do the former first couple think of their daughter's latest? They'll have to read the book.

"I don't really apprise my parents of my work," Ms. Davis says. "I figure that at 38, I can work on what I want."

Meanwhile, she's now shopping around her first screenplay, "Home Fires." The script, set in the White House in the early '80s, depicts an already strained first family coping with an assassination attempt.

"I watched the transformation in our family when my father was shot. How we pulled together and then how we fell apart again," Ms. Davis says.

"That's the centerpiece of the story. I fictionalized it in a lot of ways, but with some aspects, I didn't . . .

"They're strangers -- three lonely people on this huge stage. For years, they can't seem to connect with each other. They seem unable to know each other. It takes a bullet to bring them together. . . .

"It's the story of a family working through not getting along," she says. "I resist the word dysfunctional, but in essence, that's the problem. They're supposed to be representative of a family, but they're really not a family at all."

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