A Memoir
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Subjective memoir about film reviewer Haskell's emotions when her Film reviewer husband Andrew Sarris is felled by a near-fatal rare disease and becomes the sickest person ever seen in New York Hospital who lived. Many will admire Haskell's knack for wringing every emotive droplet from a vast thunderhead. One gives up early to her endless diversions or else finds oneself locked into an excruciating reading experience of walleyed pages that seem like nothing so much as reportorial space-filling Never mind that all the stuffing--the whole emotional webbing of her life, of her parental ties, her ties to her husband's family, her personal friendships (nobody seems left out), workplace friends, friends in the hospital--proves magnetized to her "love" theme. One cries GET ON WITH IT! But no--it's surrender to what she herself terms "neurotic" and sounds like free association, much of it in the jargon of a lapsed 70's feminist. In the end she admits that she's leaving Andy's version of his illness to himself--it's his material. And she is accustomed not only to living in her adored husband's shadow, but also in having his fabulous film-brain and knockout intuitive powers at her disposal. But here she's on her own, and recapturing square-handed signals of despair. Andy's illness is undiagnosable. Operation follows operation. A colostomy, ugh! Infections create big new illnesses. He's dying He's paranoid--for months! She can't connect with him. What's worse, her mother, who has never connected with Andy, can't connect with her. And Andy's mother is a mess, seemingly taking on his illness and suddenly coming down with something like Alzheimer's disease. The bills are colossal. For the first time in her childless marriage, Molly attempts to sort out the household finances and is staggered. Close friends die by the handful. And WHAT'S WRONG WITH ANDY? He's such a multilayered mystery, with so many bugs and breakdowns, that by the time he miraculously recovers the final diagnosis is Kafkaesque makeshift. Many strong clinical passages will carry this with most readers, who may well warm to the love theme too and find Haskell's method daring.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1990
ISBN: 0595140408
Page count: 306pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1990


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