WALKING PAPERS by Sandra Hochman


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At first one is very taken with Sandra Hochman -- she's the poet -- and/or Diana Balooka -- she's the survivor of three marriages and a poet and a tap-dancer and 32 ""going on a thousand."" She's also the mother of four boys and experiencing a bad divorce and a bad affair simultaneously and having bladder problems (no wonder). Sometimes she sounds like Jimmy Miller (if you remember her) and even like Dorothy Parker (""'Look at me. Recognize me.' I felt like the Republic of Cuba""). She's very verbal, imaginatively verbal, and sassy and often touching as she goes over her past and remembers all those ghosts and separations (her parents'): ""At night I unpack my childhood. I take each moment out of the suitcase."" And here she's contending, not too well, with her uncommunicative husband and too-friendly lawyers and curious children (she really doesn't spend much time thinking about them) and her rather diffident current lover while reviewing other men, awful men, in the past. Sometimes she's a little exasperating like that too bright child and this reprise of her ""fuck-up follies"" is never anything more than that. But she's insistently there and ""too much of a spirit comedienne to go off without my final patter."" The patter may be what you'll remember best and it's certainly what you'll enjoy the most -- it won't make the book any more important than it isn't but it does have the clear sparkle of chipped ice.

Pub Date: July 20th, 1971
Publisher: Viking