A collection of more than 100 of Bombeck's most popular newspaper columns (during her long career she produced 4,500 pieces), ranging from those published in the 1960s, when Bombeck first darted out from behind the drier to explain where the other sock went, to columns written shortly before her death earlier this year. The book includes a series of moving tributes from fellow columnists Ellen Goodman and Art Buchwald and from her husband, Bill, often the subject of her acerbic and compassionate wit. Does that seem an oxymoron? Can you nail your target and commiserate at the same time? Bombeck could, and not only because she made herself the bull's-eye as least as often as her mother, her children, and her friends. She had a unique knack for finding universal humor in hitherto unsuspected places, locating the comic possibilities in such unlikely matters as that infamous lost sock, a dying Boston fern, or the humiliating paper dress worn in the doctor's examining room. She muses about galloping food costs, kids who turn their backs on mother love, and husbands who are too much around the house. The collection is divided loosely into sections like ""Hello, Young Mothers"" and ""In Sickness and in Health."" Whatever the subtitle, Bombeck can always make a reader laugh out loud--but she's not perfect. Some columns are overly sentimental, including one on Thanksgiving and another on ""When God Created Mother."" Is Erma dated? Yes and no. Some of her columns reflect, in their concerns and attitudes, another time. But then again, socks still disappear mysteriously in driers. For Bombeck fans, a sure bet. For the woman of the '90s, much still hits home. Thanks, Erma.