Library Ed. Blackstone Audio 1998
CS ISBN $44.95 Six cassettes
The “First Lady of the American Theater” looks back on a distinguished career, a mostly happy family life and legions of celebrity friendships.She includes her appraisals of contemporary theater, the Hollywood scene and television. The ideal reader for these memoirs would, of course, have been Hayes herself. She did in fact do the 1990 abridgment, but as she died at age 93, her adopted son, actor James MacArthur, does the honors. It’s not a wholly successful substitution. “I” is now a male voice; “mother and I” are not James and Helen, but Helen and her mother; and James reads about himself in the third person. Adding to the mild confusion is the absence of well-timed pauses to delineate shifts in time or location. Still, MacArthur reads with warmth and affection, the spirit in which the book was written and the life lived. J.B.G. ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/NOV 98]
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