CAN THIS BE LOVE? by Bette-Jane Raphael


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The answer to Raphael's tricky little title question is no, even here in the nowhere 1980's. But as for triviality, nastiness, self-absorption, hostility--they're all here where the fun is supposed to be. Raphael, or the persona she has contrived to speak in these recycled Glamour Magazine columns, is a once-promiscuous, young working woman's would-be Joan Rivers going on and on about the problems of finding and keeping a member of the opposite sex. But Raphael's humor? Here's a typical tickler: ""Old boyfriends and girlfriends make wonderful clubs with which to clobber our partners, and provide a ready supply of little needles with which to prick one another for fun and profit."" The run-on sentence and piled-on clich‚s and metaphors are what passes for wit at Glamour, apparently. Just for a minute, listen to what this poor person is really saying: I have slept around and not found happiness, or peace, or even satisfaction. I get along with my present partner by gritting my teeth and pretending that our intimate life is laughable, when it is barely tolerable. By focusing on him and us, but not on me, I never have to deal with myself honestly. If I did, I probably could not stand what I saw. I am getting older, but not deeper. Read in this unlikely way, this supposedly funny collection is really quite sad.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1985
Publisher: Arbor House