A SWARM OF WASPS by Mrs. Falk Feeley


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Imagine reading The Preppy Handbook through a layer of gauze and you'll have a good idea of this terribly mild little ""guide"" to old-monied, upper-class life: about 70 alphabetical mini-essays, from ""Addresses"" and ""Affairs"" to ""Watches"" and ""Weddings."" Mrs. Feeley--a.k.a. Pat Feeley, author of the cute, so-so Best Friend (1977), a psychodog novel--is usually more admiring than satiric here, as she describes what ""our people"" wear, eat, drink, smoke, think, read, play, and talk about. True, there's an occasional dash of wickedness--about senility or extramarital sex. (""I know several people who think of it as one of the better reasons to marry, and they may be right."") And Feeley's extra-dry observations are sometimes on-target enough to raise a smile or two: ""The children occasionally smoke marijuana, but the girls are watching their weight, and have given it up because it gives them attacks of the munchies that result in consumption of whole pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream (rum raisin, or boysenberry sherbet). . . ."" But most of the cultural pigeon-holing here is plain, proud, and dullish--from speech (""Our people speak plain and unadorned English in a plain and unadorned way, with neither bureaucratic circumlocution nor false genteelism"") to good, functional taste in luggage and boats. And it comes as no surprise to read that Feeley wrote this book ""to score one against the Philistines, tell her family and friends how much she loves them even if she does laugh at them, and fund the purchase of the boat of her dreams."" With appropriately bland drawings by Nina Pallesen Craig: a WASP-book virtually without sting.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1983
Publisher: Morrow