ENDANGERED PLEASURES by Barbara Holland

ENDANGERED PLEASURES

In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Holland (One's Company, 1992, etc.) presents a collection of exemplary little essays in praise of a lot of her favorite things. A kind of personal book of virtues, it's one that should, if life is fair, speak to a wide audience. From the first piece, ``Waking Up,'' through ``Lunch'' and ``Spring,'' on to ``Air,'' ``Fire,'' and ``Water,'' past ``Getting Older'' and five dozen others, the persuasive essayist chronicles her view of the Good Life in basic terms. She praises recreational talking and the recumbent state, noting ``that you don't see any other intelligent mammals wobbling around all day balanced on their hind legs, or pretending to relax by sitting upright on their backsides.'' Working is great, she tells us. Not working has its advantages, too. Because we dream, she reminds us, we know how a bird feels (``wonderful''), and she makes us remember that certain things, like happy hours, were given to humanity for enjoyment; it's wasteful and wicked to scorn them. The author expounds on diverse matters that make her heart leap for joy, from firecrackers, gardening, cats, and dogs to bare feet, speeding, and whistling. Her heart leaps a lot, to be sure, though there are a few things, like seat belts, with which Holland is not entirely pleased; and she offers a better defense of smoking than the cigarette industry has ever come up with. Written in confident style, one in which nouns may masquerade as sentences, this winsome text corrects a current misapprehension about the world--it may not be so bad, after all. Just consider all the fun in it. There's coffee and colors and the Fourth of July. Down comforters. Flora. Fauna. Books of essays. Recalling Pollyanna or E.B. White in his lyrical mode, Holland, with her instructive essays, may not lengthen our days on this planet, but perhaps a few of those days will be enhanced for a little while. And that's not bad at all. (line drawings)

Pub Date: March 31st, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-37057-6
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995




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