cover image Samurai Widow

Samurai Widow

Judith Jacklin Belushi. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $21.95 (427pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-575-4

Hard-core fans of John Belushi, the pop-comic icon who died in 1982 after a drug binge, may find his widow's tear-filled memoir frustrating for its focus and tone. Chronicling her ``emotional progression and subsequent evolution'' during the seven years that followed the death of her husband, whom she met when the two were attending the same high school, the author ( Titters ) offers little more than defensive posturing and a somewhat overly self-indulgent look at what it's like to lose a loved one. Glossing over difficult issues, such as the couple's mutual substance abuse, she is more generous when she writes of the sympathy she received from her family and famous friends, and with details of her sexual reawakening and renewed sense of self-confidence. With the exception of 24 love letters, a gripping description of Belushi's funeral and memorial service, and hints that Cathy Smith, who confessed that she injected the comic with a fatal mix of cocaine and heroin, was a police informant, not much new is revealed in this long-awaited book, which was expected to be the widow's revisionistic response to Wired , Bob Woodward's biography of the late Blues Brother. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour. (June)