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Sheldon, Mary 1955–

Sheldon, Mary 1955–

PERSONAL: Born 1955; daughter of Sidney Sheldon (a writer) and Jorja Curtright (an actress and interior decorator); children: Lizy, Rebecca. Education: Graduated from Wellesley College.

ADDRESSES: HomeLos Angeles, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Kensington Publishing Corporation, 850 3rd Ave., New York, NY 10022.

CAREER: Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Brandeis University Library Association Award, for Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Portrait of Rosemary, Collins (London, England), 1983.

The Shadow Girl, Fontana (London, England), 1987.

Under the Influence, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1990.

Raising My Titanic: The Diary of a Single Mother, Dove (Beverly Hills, CA), 1996.

Halfway Home, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Reflection, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Pandora Brown, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2004.

FOR CHILDREN

Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 1981.

The Santasaurus, illustrated by Bartt Warburton and Rick Penn-Kraus, Dove Kids (Beverly Hills, CA), 1996.

(With father, Sidney Sheldon) The Adventures of Drippy, the Runaway Raindrop, illustrated by Alexandra Sheldon, Dove Kids (Beverly Hills, CA), 1996.

Resolution, iUniverse, 2000.

The Blue Unicorn, iUniverse, 2000.

AUDIOBOOKS

Special Stories for Special Children: The Summer, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1988.

Day at the Aquarium, read by Betty White, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1992.

Day at the Zoo, read by Betty White, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1992.

Day at the Farm, read by Betty White, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1992.

Day in the City, read by Betty White, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1992.

(Adapter) Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales, read by Audrey Hepburn, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1993.

(With Bob Van Dusen) I Am America: Get Hooked on Reading, Dove Audio (Beverly Hills, CA), 1995.

SIDELIGHTS: Mary Sheldon, the daughter of award-winning novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon, is herself the author of several novels and children's books. Sheldon's first work, the young-adult novel Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness, appeared in 1981. Described as "a gracefully written tale" by People contributor Andrea Chambers, Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness concerns the suicides of a troubled teenaged girl and her idol, a dispirited rock star. In the work, readers learn about fourteen-year-old Effie Daniels through the journal entries of her older sister, Susan. Devastated by her parents' divorce, the sensitive and fragile Effie finds an outlet for her grief in the music of David Angel; she starts a fan club for the singer and travels across the country to attend his concerts. After her father announces plans to remarry, Effie disappears for a time, returning home under mysterious circumstances. Upon learning that Angel has shot himself, Effie takes her own life, leaving Susan to wonder if there is a connection between the two deaths.

According to a critic in Kirkus Reviews, "the whole diary is nicely shadowed with lifelike gaps, along with enough convincing, mundane details to maintain a quietly compelling measure of credibility." The second half of the novel focuses on the unhappy life of Angel, told through the recollections of the people closest to him, including a fateful meeting between the singer and Effie. "The characters in this disturbing and hauntingly sad story" will appeal to a young-adult audience, noted Library Journal critic Jackie Cassada, and Kate Waters, reviewing the work in School Library Journal, noted, "The people who tell the story … are alive in their hurt, anger, memories, regrets, confusion, affection, and tenderness."

In the adult novel Halfway Home, Sheldon introduces Alexis Donleavy, a successful Manhattan interior designer who longs for a relationship with her estranged mother, Maggie, a famous actress who abandoned Alexis when she was a child. While performing volunteer work with Linda, a disadvantaged teen, Alexis begins to deal with the true source of her unhappiness. Maggie also confronts her past—including her decision to leave her eight-year-old daughter—during a rare interview with a reporter. Sheldon reveals her protagonists' histories in a series of alternating flashbacks; "Maggie comes off as selfish and more than a little foolish and her autobiography threatens to nudge out the real story: Alexis's relationship with Linda, which is touching," a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted. Though Library Journal contributor Margaret Hanes found Sheldon's narrative structure confusing, she also commented that Halfway Home "takes the reader on a thoughtful, if somewhat cumbersome, journey through high expectations, misunderstandings, and disappointments."

In Reflection, Sheldon "examines the quintessential question of 'what if,'" according to Chicago Tribune Books reviewer Kristin Kloberdanz. The author focuses on a single protagonist, Caroline, and follows the two distinct paths the woman's life would have taken if she had been raised by her father in New York versus by her mother in California. Kloberdanz called Reflection "a unique read."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Emergency Librarian, March, 1994, review of Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales, p. 26.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1981, review of Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness, p. 962.

Kliatt, January, 1996, Dennis A. Hinrichs, review of Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales, p. 55.

Library Journal, October 15, 1981, Jackie Cassada, review of Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness, p. 2050; April 1, 2002, Margaret Hanes, review of Halfway Home, p. 142.

People, December 7, 1981, Andrea Chambers, "Sidney Sheldon and His Novelist Daughter Explore Their Literary Bloodlines," pp. 117-118, 120-121.

Publishers Weekly, June 1, 1992, review of Day at the Zoo and Day at the Aquarium, p. 23; April 19, 1993, review of Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales, p. 28; December 18, 1995, review of I Am America: Get Hooked on Reading, p. 24; March 11, 2002, review of Halfway Home, p. 53.

School Library Journal, February, 1982, Kate Waters, review of Perhaps I'll Dream of Darkness, p. 94; October, 1996, review of The Santasaurus, p. 40.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 30, 2003, Kristin Kloberdanz, "Sparks Still Fly in Romance Novels," review of Reflection, p. 3.

Washington Post Book World, December 20, 1991, Vic Sussman, review of Day at the Zoo and Day at the Aquarium, p. 11.

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