Heimel's new collection takes up where her last one (If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet?, 1991) ended: In 36 short pieces previously published in Playboy, the Village Voice, and the Independent, the humorist parades the goofy, smart, obsessive-yet-perceptive persona that many downtown Manhattan- dwellers have come to identify with. But this time, she shows us a little more of her mature, maternal, responsible side before slipping in the news that she's defected for California to write for a sitcom. Maybe that's why she sounds happier and more relaxed. In five pieces that fall under the heading ``Feminist Rants,'' Heimel demonstrates her mastery of the endlessly thorny subject of men: ``A woman needs a man like a fish needs a net,'' she says, beefing up Gloria Steinem's flip 70's slogan that ``A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.'' Times are tougher now than they were in the 70's, and Heimel envies the easy confidence that she's seen lesbians demonstrate: ``I remember only once in my life feeling as content and confident as these women: It was 1979 and I was out of my mind on a combination of Quaaludes and cocaine. This method no longer strikes me as practical.'' But in short pieces on her brief stint as a welfare mother, and in the angry, zingy ``How to Be Creative,'' she tells us how she got tough enough to let her talent shine through, showing us the seatless toilets in the welfare office and all the twisted little jokes and reflections she had along her difficult way. And in many little pieces on shopping (including the buying of deliciously vengeful Christmas gifts) and on life in L.A., as well as in further thoughts on guys, Heimel demonstrates that a good writer can peer over the edge of middle-aged looniness without quite falling in. Funny and smart: a great way for beset urban women to chase the blues.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-87113-538-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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