Adventures in the Big City
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 Supermodel-cum-columnist, actress (in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever and Malcolm X), and TV correspondent (on Good Morning America and HBO's Entertainment News) Webb's first collection of maladroit essays will thrill Seventeen subscribers, but few others. Webb offers a tell-all memoir tracing her journey from New York club kid to Paris ingenue, posing for the likes of Bruce Weber and Peter Lindberg in duds by Jean-Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, et al. A swanky Miss Malaprop (who occasionally gets it right), Webb peppers her otherwise puerile worldview with big words like ``exacerbate'' and ``ingratiate.'' When it comes to the city of light, the most she can say is that ``France is like another planet.'' Her guilty decision to abort an unwanted child goes like this: ``I know it's not falafel and then a baby. It's a baby, and I'm sorry.'' On insecurity: ``It tends to bring out the worst in people.'' Clearly, a fancy vocabulary does not a thinker or a writer make. After escapades as an A-list model in Milan, London, Norway, Morocco, etc., and a stint as Spike Lee's girlfriend, she became the first black woman to land an exclusive contract with Revlon. When the contract was terminated after three years, she turned to broadcast journalism, and, finally, to the writing life. As feminist scribe, railing against breast cancer, the straitjackets of gender and sexuality, the beauty myth, and the word ``bitch'' as a form of address, she is hopelessly inadequate. On race (the ``N'' word, Clarence Thomas, Mike Tyson), crime, and other political matters, she is equally superfluous. She is better suited to show inventories, paeans to couture decadence, and the therapeutics of shopping at Barneys. In most of these essays, like Shakespeare's ``little wanton boys that swim on bladders,'' Webb seems beyond her depth. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-7868-6338-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1997