Picks and Pans Review: Lipshtick

updated 03/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Gwen Macsai

Book of the week

Wondering what to do about that terribly attractive but completely-wrong-for-you guy? Mom would say steer clear—you'll only get your heart broken, dear. Gwen Macsai's solution? Have a fling with him! Whether it lasts a night or a week—any longer, says NPR producer Macsai, "and it runs the risk of turning into a relationship, to which I say, duck and cover"—a fling will satisfy those carnal cravings without consuming you in return.

This hilarious selection of autobiographical essays serves up plenty of irreverent advice, but Macsai sprinkles her sass with such genuine sweetness that her words become as comforting as a post-breakup bowl of ice cream. Like a familiar friend, the author shares her life adventures (including a tryst with a budding state representative and a near-disastrous escapade with a coworker) while offering tips on avoiding her mistakes. For instance? Don't try turning your best male friend into anything more, no matter what. "It doesn't take long," she writes, "to figure out that the introduction of nookie into a once serene, platonic relationship is the equivalent of a romantic hand grenade."

Part self-help, part stand-up (Macsai's rant on the tendency of men to retreat to the bathroom to do their reading is laugh-out-loud funny), this sparkling debut will speak to plenty of women—maybe even to a few curious men. (HarperCollins, $23)

Bottom Line: Colorful commentary to please every palate

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