HONEY: The Life and Loves of Lenny's Shady Lady by Honey with Dana Benenson Bruce
Kirkus Star

HONEY: The Life and Loves of Lenny's Shady Lady

Email this review


Lenny Bruce's widow recounts an extraordinarily painful life with an attitude something like a shrug. As a teen-ager she ran away repeatedly from an indifferent mother and a lecherous bookie stepfather; at seventeen a joy-ride with some soldiers led her across seven states and ended in Honey's arrest in Florida as an accomplice to a gas-station robbery. She was the youngest white female ever sent to Raiford State Prison. The horrors are real--Honey rolls her eyes remembering, but she can only describe them in a gushy, girlish prose that may or may not be blamed on her ghost-writer. Released, Honey works in a carnival, is briefly married to a man who beats her, joins a sister singing act, and finally makes good as a stripper in Miami, where she meets Lenny Bruce. Together they form a folie a deux marked by fondly recalled excesses paid for at uncommonly high prices (e.g., their sex is wonderful but they can never quite master birth control and Honey has six abortions). She blames drugs for ""poisoning"" their marriage. Resilience blurs into resignation as Honey reveals that her husband may well have helped frame her on a marijuana charge, but it doesn't seem to matter much now. Honey's life continues to downslide after Lenny's death until at age 44--after 16 years of addiction and 39 arrests--she finally kicks the habit with the help of friends. What are we to make of this? Honey herself doesn't know--she is not a naturally reflective person--but she has written a memoir which is probably more disturbing than she intended.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Playboy