ONLY WHEN I LAUGH by Erica Abeel


Email this review


The true story of Abeel's divorce and its aftermath--her search for a job plus her difficulties in coping with her small son, her infant daughter, her psyche, her psychiatrist, and a string of highly neurotic lovers. This sort of emotional catharsis for money is shaping up as something of a literary genre (first and best, Bed/Time/Story; more recently Bad Connections), and it becomes increasingly obvious that it takes more than what most of these women have to offer to make it work well. What is missing here, unfortunately, is the very ""humor and pathos"" the publisher is counting on to sell the book. Abeel's passionate, post-marital affair with an ""erotic wolf,"" who is simultaneously involved with another woman (what else?) and who is ""into"" open relationships is not at all amusing, merely sick. Her next encounter, with a doctor whose preoccupation with his tool kit seems to be a substitute for sex, is more of the same. Even Abeel's successes (in true 1970s fashion they entail only career highs--two articles for New York magazine and a job teaching French and English at a reasonably respectable university) are tinged with the kind of West-Side Manhattan outlook that one associates with damp plaster and soggy garbage bags on the kitchen floor. So much for the Literature of Abandonment. Chuck this one.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Morrow