Picks and Pans Review: The Prick of Noon
by Peter De Vries
Eddie Teeters, the narrator-hero of this comic novel, lives in Merrymount, Conn, where "we have a rather substantial heterosexual community." He produces educational sex films (a prosecutor says they are obscene) in which "the actor playing the male leads is a little on the small side where it counts, so I was his stuntman in the scenes of explicit sex." Teeters is socially ambitious, and he fixes on an upscale beauty named Cynthia Pickles. Her stepmother thinks he's splendid. But "when Cynthia discovered I was a hunk, she stopped going to bed with me." At a party they meet a "doctor who vacuumed unwanted pounds out through your belly button" and a "dental expert who had recently discovered that chocolate prevented tooth decay." De Vries' slender plot only provides a framework for his speciality—wordplay and puns. Let's not even get into the title, but every page is clotted with such lines as, "It was mid-July now, and the mercury rose to the occasion," or, "I wore a blue suit, white shirt and necktie with well-behaved polka dots, and new black shoes that meowed." For readers who find such bons mots irresistible, The Prick of Noon is an orgy of delight. Others may discover that even a little bit of De Vries' labored language is like dining on a whole meal of bonbons. (Little, Brown, $14.95)
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