Picks and Pans Review: How Not to Turn into Your Mother
I'm never going to write my autobiography, and it's all my mother's fault," playwright-humorist Jean Kerr once noted. "I didn't hate her, so I have practically no material." If only we could have counted on the same silence from Sunshine, author of Women Who Date Too Much and Plain Jane Works Out.
How Not to Turn into Your Mother is full of charts, lists, quizzes, cautionary tales, tedious case histories and pallid whimsy. The humor—using the term loosely—often has a desperate metallic edge. Take "The Thirty Stages of Turning into Your Mom": "During first sleep-over demand that all your friends pick up after themselves...Listen to your best friend (or sibling) explain the facts of life and get a headache...Go on your first date, and when he doesn't call back, decide to sue for half of his estate."
The women in the burlesquing case histories are given names like Laurie Lestoil; the experts who offer commentary on mother-daughter contretemps are given names like Carlos Jungas, Janis Panis, Cecilia Yesandno. Ba dum.
In the most dexterous hands, 142 pages of this sort of thing would be a stretch. In this instance, a pamphlet would have been pushing it. (Dell, paper. $6.99)
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