LAURA Z--A LIFE: Years of Fulfillment by Laura Z. Hobson

LAURA Z--A LIFE: Years of Fulfillment

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Hobson wrote Gentleman's Agreement in 1947, the date at which this second volume of her memoirs begins (she died, at 85, last February). Hobson was the champion of many liberal causes, from her stand against anti-Semitism in Gentleman's Agreement to her later support of her son's homosexuality, which inspired Consenting Adult, her novel about the parents of gays. Her rather engaging capacity for enraging radicals as well as reactionaries is chronicled both in her comments about McCarthyism (she opposed witch hunts but was equally opposed to Communism) and in her delighted account of her famous New York Times attack on All in the Family. Hobson suggested during the show's first season that the program sugarcoated bigotry by softening its expression in order to make Archie Bunker ""lovable"": she pointed out that bigots do not use Bunkerisms such as ""hebe"" or ""junglebunnie""--they use uglier ones--and concluded that the show ""wasn't bigoted enough"" to be effective as satire. Norman Lear--she almost chuckles as she reports--was furious. While her accounts of these former battles (and some miserable-sounding love affairs with selfish literati) make for intermittently lively reading, this story surely could have been told in a single volume. Hobson was a lively and conscientious humanist, but her prose style is largely anecdotal; there isn't enough intellectual substance here to sustain a two-volume memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1986
Publisher: Donald Fine