By age 21 the self-confident, determined, Southern-bred actress had starred in a Broadway hit, won a Tony, was ``the toast of New York'' and was featured on a Life coveronly the first of many triumphs in a celebrity life. In this account written ``to reclaim the past that was stolen,'' Neal writes candidly about her numerous love affairs, both transient and profound, such as a liaison with Gary Cooper and her 25-year marriage to writer Roald Dahl. More arresting are the tragedies that beset her, including the deaths of two of her five children and, at age 39, a massive stroke suffered when she was at the peak of her career and carrying her fifth child. Her heroic struggle to regain her speech, mobility and mental capacities adds another dimension to an already courageous human being. Although her acclaimed comeback as an actress did not compensate for the breakup of her marriage, Neal stresses that she has found a measure of serenity in the Catholic religion and in writing these memoirs. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild featured alternate; Doubleday alternate. (April)
Actress Neal's life has been one of great tragedy: her much-publicized stroke, the death of her small daughter, the brain-damaging accident of her son, her broken love affair with Gary Cooper, and the betrayal by her husband, Roald Dahl, after 30 years of marriage. But the indomitable spirit that made Neal one of our best actresses led to her miraculous recovery from her stroke and allowed her to carry on despite tragedy. Her autobiography covers her early aspirations and later successes and especially details her tempestuous marriage. Neal's honesty and strength infuse the book with life and raise it above the usual celebrity autobiography. Destined for bestsellerdom. (Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternates.) Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Lib., Seaside, Cal.