Picks and Pans Review: Men Who Hate Themselves and the Women Who Agree with Them

updated 02/19/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/19/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

by David A. Rudnitsky

Things go downhill rapidly once you get past the wonderful title of this spoof. A list of questionnaire questions includes "Have you ever been a celibate? A halibut?" and "Right now, do you have a regular lover? Have they ever been constipated?" A fantasized woman talks about her soon-to-be ex: "Look, I bear the guy no animosity, just some papers from Marvin Mitchelson." A list of symptoms for how to tell if your man is dead includes, "If he doesn't object to your mother staying for the month."

That variety of humor—take my send-up, please—is too frequent, but Rudnitsky (also the author of The Joy of Depression, among other humor books) does have some fun with lists, such as one headed "Men Who Hate Themselves: By Favorite Author"; 100 percent of those who prefer Shere Hite and Gloria Steinem hate themselves but only 2 percent of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fans do.

His chapter headings have their good qualities too: One is "Groveling, Pleading, Whining, Begging, Plus Other Popular Sexual Positions."

Sustaining humor like this over 135 pages is tough, and Rudnitsky is no Dave Barry in the sustained-humor department. It's hard, nonetheless, to escape the notion that anything that's bad for the self-help-book business is good for America. (Plume, paper, $6.95)

From Our Partners