Book Review: 'Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee by Their Son'
Rock & roll heartthrob Bobby’s first words to teen starlet Sandra: ”Will you marry me?” Sandra knew he was ”a conniving SOB” but soon said yes anyway. Now their son Dodd reveals the pain his parents brought to that marriage. Bobby, sickly as a child and knowing that he would die young, drove himself with a kind of ambition and cruelty only the doomed understand. A would-be actor, he parlayed a novelty tune, ”Splish Splash,” into a major singing career and died mentally unsound when Dodd was 12. Sandra, raped repeatedly by her stepfather as she grew up and anorexic by age 11 before anyone knew the word, saw her manufactured movie stardom die overnight. Dream Lovers ultimately collapses into maudlin self- indulgence, but not before Dodd exorcises his family demons. His surprisingly moving portrait gives meaning to the tortured reality behind one of America’s picture-perfect couples. B+ — D.A. Ball