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Meet the medium: Terry Iacuzzo, lesbian psychic to the stars, recalls the joys and sorrows of growing up in the midst of a psychic family.

Small Mediums at Large * Terry Iacuzzo * Putnam * $22.95

In her adolescence Terry Iacuzzo nurtured a recurrent fantasy of flying (sans aircraft) from upstate New York to London at night, darting inside a window left open for her at Buckingham Palace, and giving psychic consultations to Queen Elizabeth II. She pictured the scene so often that she thought if she ever met the queen in real life, they would remember each other.

Given the secrecy of her client list, it's possible that Iacuzzo--a high-profile psychic for 30 years--has already fulfilled this youthful dream. In her memoir, Small Mediums at Large, she recounts her raucous but not exactly happy upbringing in a working-class Sicilian-American family in Buffalo. All the Iacuzzos had similar talents: Terry's sister, Rosemary, could speak to the recently dead--lending a horrible realism to the seances they held for neighborhood children--and glean information from objects. ("Don't buy that hat. I'm just saying.") Their elder brother, Frank Andrews, left early for Greenwich Village to begin his studies in esoterica--learning painful lessons about the dangers of using magic to do harm.

Although it is fascinating to hear a psychically gifted person describe how she perceives the past and future, and how "visions" feel to her, the reader may be struck by the ordinariness of much of Iacuzzo's story: her acid trips in the late 1960s; her short-term jobs in offices and factories while she "found" herself; failed relationships with charismatic older women and lackluster fellow hippies. Apparently not even psychic powers help rivalrous siblings connect with each other in adulthood. During one of her brother's numbing monologues, Iacuzzo "felt like a canned ham trapped in a tin box, floating in aspic."

Despite file good stories, Small Mediums at Large has an underlying gloominess that may reflect the difficulties of Iacuzzo's gifts--if you can regard it as a gift to hear the complaints of the dead--as well as her clear distaste for stagecraft and glitter. Expect a glimpse beyond, but don't expect Bewitched.

Marler writes for the New York Observer and the Los Angeles Times Book Review.
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Author:Marler, Regina
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 15, 2005
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