BACHELOR GIRLS by Wendy Wasserstein


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Last year's Pulitzer-winning playwright (for The Heidi Chronicles) produces her first book: 29 short essays, most reprinted from New York Woman, The New York Times Magazine, etc.--each piece shot through with humor and angst about what it means to be a single woman in the big city. Wasserstein is a funny lady, a female Woody Allen with an acute insider's awareness of all the little details and subtleties of success in N.Y.C. and L.A. in the late 80's. ""I knew my friend Patti was a big-time Hollywood agent the first time I saw her dial a telephone with a pencil,"" she writes, launching into a hilarious exploration of the trend toward elaborate nail care on both coasts (""a hallmark of postfeminism""). Status is no joke to Wasserstein, however, since other pieces--on everything from shopping with men to getting rejected from the exclusive Dalton school as a kid--reveal her to be from a very specific urban Jewish elite, a world she seems to aspire to even as she remains a professional spectator. Unmarried in a world that still prizes good marriages (e.g., to bankers who makes millions), Wasserstein is at her funniest and most poignant when describing the expectations of her family and when talking about being overweight (""Weight is the bane of my existence. When I riseth up and when I falleth down""). And just when you're about to lose patience with her obsession with the trendy and parochial, Wasserstein offers ""Jean Harlow's Wedding Night""--a haunting piece about covering up rejection with compulsive entertaining (""For a funny person, I felt frighteningly empty""). A witty, sometimes touching, collection.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1990
ISBN: 0679730621
Publisher: Knopf