ON MERMAID AVENUE by Binnie Kirshenbaum


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 Two young women meet in college, pal around in N.Y.C, and sleep with a lot of guys--in this very slight, fey, sentimental imitation of Tama Janowitz and/or Anita Loos: a first adult novel by the author of Short Subject (a 1989 YA book) and the story collection Married Life and Other True Adventures (1990). Edie's the crazy girl and Mona's the sensible one when they first meet after a Humanities lecture their senior year. On first contact Mona is very impressed with Edie's plaid skirt, spiked heels, and motorcycle jacket, and when Edie redubs her ``Monarose...a flower of a name,'' the two become inseparable friends. Donning black velvet and thrift-shop silk, lightheartedly bedding mysterious boys who might someday conceivably become diplomats and older men who (God forbid) could decide at any moment to leave their wives, Edie and Monarose cruise through their final days of college with the sole intent of stomping on and crushing the heavy mantle of Edie's unpleasantly fragmented and Monarose's stultifyingly proper origins. After college, with no goals or ambitions to speak of, the two move erratically in and out of seedy Manhattan apartments and seedier love affairs, creating a satisfying pattern in which Edie causes more and more trouble (flying off to Vienna at a moment's notice on her parents' credit card; bugging the apartment of a former lover), so that Monarose must abandon jobs, lovers, and other friends to rescue her. Monarose doesn't mind: she'd do anything to keep flighty Edie brightening up her life. In the end, though, not surprisingly, it's Edie who latches onto a pompous young businessman, forces him to propose, and defiantly marries him in a lavish, drunken wedding, while Monarose is left to dream alone. Frivolous fiction, East Village-style.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1993
ISBN: 0-88064-139-8
Page count: 176pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993


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