UH-OH by Robert Fulghum


Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door
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 Fulghum offers a disclaimer at the outset of this collection of new essays: ``Nothing definitive is intended on any subject. In fact, I am deliberately depending on your adding your thoughts and experiences....The book will not work without your taking significant responsibility for it.'' Uh-oh. Sounds like the Fulghum machine is running out of steam--and the ensuing pages read like it, too. Like the offerings in the megaselling It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It (1989) and All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (1988), these rambling conversational musings resemble notes for homilies by a puckish minister (which Unitarian Fulghum has been) who likes to tweak his congregants without making anyone uncomfortable. There are a few relatively mind-opening anecdotes here (a juggler at a Christmas Eve service whose equipment was stolen but who nonetheless managed to wow the audience by juggling illusions; a prized cigar of the author's, laid down for a moment and picked up by an elderly passerby who savored it so thoroughly that Fulghum says, ``The old man may have smoked it, but I've not enjoyed a cigar more''). A school play of Cinderella in which a little fat boy who insisted on playing a pig (nonexistent in the script) steals the show, weddings and funerals relieved of their deadly solemnity by inappropriate bodily noises, the author's decision to liven up a dumpy day by eating Cheerios and jellybeans and walking to his office wearing his granddaughter's beanie copter--the trademark Fulghum themes are here as well, but the charm seems thinner, the sentimentality thicker, and the writing slacker. At his best, Fulghum's simple verities and undemanding spirituality have made him a brand-name remedy for our age's malaise. This is not his best, but the placebo effect will probably carry it to best-sellerdom. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for September.)

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1991
ISBN: 0-679-40103-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991


NonfictionFROM BEGINNING TO END by Robert Fulghum
by Robert Fulghum
NonfictionMAYBE (MAYBE NOT) by Robert Fulghum
by Robert Fulghum