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Trouble on Home Front

April 20, 1986

I am the editor at Crown Publishers, Inc., who worked with Patti Davis and Maureen Strange Foster on "Home Front." I was horrified to read Jean Vallely's review of the novel, and not just because of my connection with the book. It's one thing not to like a book and to criticize it. It's quite another to mount an ad hominem attack of this nature.

Jean Vallely found nothing to admire in "Home Front" and wrote: "If I were Nancy Reagan, I'd never speak to Patti again." Is that comment really required in a review of this novel? Are such tasteless comments really the stuff of a serious review in a serious journal such as the Los Angeles Times Book Review?

Reviewers love to trash books, particularly if those books are written by people in the public eye. And reviewers have the right to criticize. Authors have rights as well. And editors have obligations. I think the editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review has the obligation not to publish a review that mounts a vicious personal attack on an author.

BETTY A. PRASHKER

Editor-in-Chief

Crown Publishers

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