cover image Bondage


Patti Davis. Simon & Schuster, $22.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-86953-3

A smorgasbord of irresponsible, unprotected sexual relations, this attention-grabbing novel by the Reagans' rebellious daughter ( The Way I See It ) seeks to show that bondage doesn't always mean S & M. Davis also suggests that strong women are, deep down, either diesel dykes or little girls waiting to meet a dominant man. Costume designer Sara is just such a straight-but-butch type, a 35-year-old woman from Santa Monica who is ordinarily wise to guys on the make. But she's struck dumb by movie director Anthony, and they tumble into the sack repeatedly (she trusts him on the basis of a plastic card that declares him HIV negative). Although Anthony's penchants for tying her up and for the occasional unannounced menage a trois disturb Sara, she cannot shake her obsession with him. Meanwhile, Sara's friend Belinda has fallen for a cult leader who later rapes her, setting up a facile contrast between rough play and actual violence. For readers who relish the explicit scenes, there's additional prurient interest in Sara's lesbian attraction to Belinda, perhaps created to show that caring is the key to a successful relationship. Still, this temptation doesn't amount to much, and heterosexual lust is the major focus here. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; author tour. (Feb.)