cover image Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser

Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser

Rita Mae Brown. Bantam Books, $23.95 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09973-7

The bestselling author of Southern fiction, screenplays and mysteries (the last, Murder, She Meowed, coauthored with a cat named Sneakie Pie) has produced an inspiring and flavorful autobiography. Of itself, the skeleton of Brown's life promises--and delivers--a progression of star-studded episodes with lessons to impart: the author was a founding member of the feminist movement; the first openly gay writer to break into the mainstream; and an ex-lover of tennis legend Martina Navratilova. From the start, Brown demonstrated bravery and integrity, and it's clear she considered her political activism and path-breaking ""outness"" to be matters not of choice but of course. This attitude, like many others revealed in her wonderfully thoughtful, funny memoir, bespeaks a truth at once self-evident and sensible to the point of surprise. Illegitimate and adopted as a child, the future writer knew from the start what it means to be an outsider. Fans of her novels will enjoy seeing how much of her bestselling fiction is pulled from real life. Brown's account of her childhood is consummately readable, bearing all the hallmarks of a coming-of-age novel--though fans know how she turns out. (Oct.)