Picks and Pans Review: Freshstart: 21 Days to Stop Smoking
The American Cancer Society sponsored this amiably nagging aid for those trying to kick the habit. It is hosted by comedian Robert Klein, who doesn't try to be funny—an ex-smoker, he knows what a serious business he's about—but adopts a tone somewhere between encouragement and wheedling. He offers medical information on smoking, discussions of the psychological aspects of the problem and general cheerleading. There are 21 brief daily pep talk segments, from "Quit Day" to "Off the Hook," to keep up morale. The segments tend toward the condescending, as if they're aimed at people who must perforce be raving fiends by the fourth day. But Klein seems so sincere he disarms some of that tone. He also stresses the useful device of frequently referring to a list in which the participant details why he or she wants to quit. "I want to live to see my children grow up" is a common reason. (Simon and Schuster, $29.95)
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