Picks and Pans Review: I'll Take Manhattan

updated 06/09/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/09/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Judith Krantz

The author of the best-selling Princess Daisy and Scruples creates a new heroine named Maxime Amberville, who is "more real than other people, more there." When Maxi decides to give up her virginity, Krantz writes that "nakedness was as natural to Maxi as to Eve." After she undergoes three marriages and divorces, her best friend tells her: "Most men are lunatics, Maxi. Stark, raving lunatics. But you don't divorce them because of it, you learn to live with them." Maxi cuts short her life of utter hedonism when her brother calls her home to New York for a mysterious board meeting. Their father is dead; their mother, who inherited 70 percent of his 10-magazine publishing empire, has married their father's brother, a slimy villain. While Krantz has borrowed her plot from Hamlet, her main character is this young woman who creates "a vibrating space around herself through sheer mesmerizing energy." There are the predictable flashbacks, and then Maxi settles down to launch a sensational new magazine that tells women it's okay to be slobs. As usual, Krantz's prose is ridiculous. Her heroine must certainly be the only character who ever "foamed into the room." Lots of real names, of both products and people, pepper the text. Krantz even says nice things about this magazine in her novel. It's a shame the compliment can't be returned. A reviewer for the New York Times in a burst of generosity said I'll Take Manhattan is better than a stick in the eye. It isn't. (Crown, $18.95)

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