NOT THAT YOU ASKED. . . by Andrew A. Rooney
Kirkus Star

NOT THAT YOU ASKED. . .

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KIRKUS REVIEW

He's here again, avuncular, plain-spoken, familiar Rooney, with more of the same. Right up front, Rooney declares that there "isn't anything new in the world and what I've always hoped to do with my writing is to say, in so many words, some of the ideas that lurk, wordlessly, in the minds of a great many people." Sure enough, while he puts the words into our mouths, he produces nothing particularly new. He remains, though, the cranky spokesman for Middle America, articulating all the joys and sorrows, fears and hopes of all the Rooney Regulars. He tells what he--and, by extension, we--like (graduation ceremonies, reunions, and dogs); what he wants (a garage equipped with a car-wash, a TV set in the bedroom ceiling); what he dislikes (cats, red cars, airline travel, the homeless in Grand Central, and a lot of other things). On and on goes America's Uncle Andy, musing about Margie, the kids, the grandchildren, the folks at the office, and the old summer place (and grousing when his privacy is invaded by fans). Cataloged under chapters with headings like "People," "Problems," "Houses," and "Nuisances," all the old tricks, with increasing malediction, are trotted out. Here are the graceful obituaries, the lists of things done and undone, the patented phrases ("It's a mystery to me. . ."; "I wonder why. . ."), and the rhetorical questions like: "Is it my imagination or are people repeating themselves more than they once did?" (A good question, Mr. Rooney.) What makes Andy run, what makes him burn, and how he earns his daily bread are described with an apparent ease that belies a professional facility sharpened over the years. He's the master of a literary enclave in American letters. There's no doubt that Rooney is a necessary curmudgeon, and we still haven't heard how he feels about Arafat or cole slaw, but it kind of makes you wonder when the old talent will be turned to some new tricks.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1989
ISBN: 394-57837-6
Publisher: Random House
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