LIKE I WAS SAYIN' . . . by Mike Royko

LIKE I WAS SAYIN' . . .

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KIRKUS REVIEW

One-hundred more short Royko-of-Chicago columns--mostly from the past five years, off the pages of the Sun-Times and (the 1984 entries) the Tribune. The collection starts off, however, with a handful of older, often-dated items that didn't get into previous Royko books--including a still-amusing 1969 vignette that sends up Sixties activism and a grand scathing farewell to the patronage position of Cook County Coroner. (""The real stars of the coroner's office were the deputy coroners--a small army of ace investigators who could walk into a room and in thirty seconds give you an accurate appraisal of every piece of jewelry on the corpse."") Later years bring Mayor Jane Byrne--who gets finely skewered (especially when trying to change her image to Mrs. Miniver), but also gets defended from sexist putdowns: ""As bad as things were under Daley and Quinn, the firemen never called Daley anything but 'the mayor,' much less something like 'our FAT MAN mayor.' "" Royko's good, too, at capturing the chill of Reaganism--whether overhearing the crude chat of Reagan delegates at the Detroit convention or imagining RR with aides during the Grenada crisis. (""Yes, gentlemen, come in. I was just sitting here rereading the screenplay of The Green Berets. There is much to be learned from history."") And, away from politics, the no-nonsense sage runs his usual gamut: put-downs of N.Y.C., Milwaukee, Indiana, Iowa; affectionate sneers at Hi-Rise culture and pasta chic; uninspired lampoons of diet/exercise books; angry defense of his eulogies for John Belushi; and a tough response to an anonymous letter from a suicide-threatening victim of unemployment. (""But if you must do it, go somewhere isolated and do it quietly. Your wife will have enough problems without cleaning up after you one last time."") Some clinkers, some bits of local-interest-only--but Royko's across-the-board skepticism and his one-two delivery stand up to time remarkably well, making this better browsing-matter than most such column-compendiums.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1984
Publisher: Dutton