Mommy Dressing: A Love Story, After a Fashion

Lois Gould, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-49053-5
Sixteen years after her mother's death, Gould (No Brakes) takes an intimate retrospective journey into her life as the daughter of Jo Copeland, America's first famous female fashion designer. Gould's smooth-talking, handsome father was the heir to the Regensburg & Son's cigar business, but her parents' marriage was deeply flawed and they would divorce when she was just three. According to Gould, in Copeland's ""value system, a man like anything a woman was to be seen with, ought to enhance the ensemble."" Her mother, who was famous for her elegantly seductive designs, felt that ""sexy was wonderful, sex wasn't."" There were reasons why Copeland feared intimacy, that distaste extended not only to her husband, but to her children as well. Gould's childhood reads like the proverbial poor-little-rich-girl story: although she appeared to have every possible advantage--beautiful home, cultural opportunities, travel and the best that money could buy--at heart this was a sad, confused, misunderstood and achingly lonely child. Neither of her parents ever attended a school play, assembly, PTA meeting or birthday party. While Joan Crawford and Tyrone Power were frequent guests at her mother's parties, Gould spent those glittering evenings alone. ""[M]ostly I was confined to my room, supper at my school desk, facing the wall. While far away... my mother dined and lived with passing strangers."" Gould's autopsy of a sad childhood on the outer fringes of that elegant world is portrayed with painstaking honesty that will be difficult for readers to forget. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-385-49054-2
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