Picks and Pans Review: The Girl I Left Behind

updated 11/24/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/24/1980 01:00AM

by Jane O'Reilly

Those who contend feminists have no sense of humor never read Jane O'Reilly. Her essay "Click! The Housewife's Moment of Truth" introduced a catchword for a woman's first "shock of recognition" of sexual inequity when it was printed in Ms. in 1971. That piece is reworked here with others on women and work, child care, the ERA and the author's personal life. O'Reilly, 44, is a New York journalist and twice-divorced mother of a teenage son. Her anthology provides eye-opening statistics ("Of all female-headed families, 41.8 percent live below the poverty level"), but what's special is the self-deflective wit on male-female relationships. O'Reilly on Her: "We are all, most of us, half-baked feminists," as in, "I demand to be treated as a person, and by the way, who am I?" On Him: "If he can't dominate, he withdraws (sometimes he calls it jogging)." The women O'Reilly writes about will laugh all the way to their overdrawn bank accounts. (Macmillan, $10.95)

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