WHEN YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE, THE TERRORISTS WIN by Carol Leifer

WHEN YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE, THE TERRORISTS WIN

Reflections on Looking in the Mirror
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Humorous essays on aging from the stand-up comic and former writer for Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show and Saturday Night Live.

Her father’s death prompted Leifer to review the twists and turns of her life. She recounts falling in love with another woman at 40, a breast-cancer scare, menopause and the adoption of a newborn son at 50. The most successful essay, “Two by Two Starts with One by One,” describes her life-changing decision to cohabitate with her partner and her partner’s pets. The promise shown there is echoed in “The I in ‘Team’ ” and “Five Lessons of Animal Adoption,” although these pieces ultimately travel much of the same ground. Most of the remaining material doles out predictable reassurance (“you are so much more than you think”), interspersed with the occasional bizarre gem (“I have become my own ass’s bitch”). Attempting to pass a light touch over these highly charged topics, Leifer too often sacrifices substance for the sake of a good one-liner. Like the subtitle, the jokes can become too precious. In the first essay, a tribute to her deceased father, she writes, “I see now that as a child a lot of ‘looking up to your parents’ has to do with height.” This wisecrack might work in a stand-up routine, but on the page it’s not entirely credible. The author tosses off one solid joke after another; if she’d kept mining she might have unearthed deeper insights.

An amusing romp, but Leifer is capable of delivering more.

Pub Date: March 31st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-345-50296-4
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2009