THE NAME GAME by Christopher P. Andersen


Email this review


Irmgard Quapp, Twila Delilah Blonigan, Luther Orange Lemon, and Tula Ellice Finklea managed to survive despite the burden of their names, although Tula fared better as Cyd Charisse. The thesis of this potentially catchy item is that names are emotionally charged--the associations they carry influence one's reception in the world, thereby contributing to personality development. The psychosis rate is higher among weird-named people, and those with last names beginning S-Z have statistically shorter life spans. Andersen (no pseudonym) dips into historical traditions and recent trends, right up to the Kunta/Kizzy fad last winter, and mentions those who have altered both names and personalities (Van Cliburn, Voltaire). Pointing up the value of the exceptional, he compares a Park Avenue guest list (Bitsy, Bubbles, Toddie, Happy) to a Disney cast; discusses--with a nod to Edwin Newman--those one-of-a-kind reversibles that invariably preside over universities (Kingman Brewster, Fount Mattox, Tilghnan Aley); stirs up the alphabet soup served in executive suites (H. J. Heinz, J. Paul Getty); and notes the interest accruing on triple-whammies like William Randolph Hearst and John Jacob Astor. But Andersen is not merely advising on how to name a baby; he suggests name-changes through the life cycle, and lists the modern ""meanings"" of hundreds of names, including Jacqueline (""a bombshell of femininity, very popular""), Hubert (""inert""), and Jimmy (""a likely success""). Like birthdays, everybody has one--so anybody can play.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Simon & Schuster