Picks and Pans Review: Keep It Simple, Stupid

UPDATED 08/28/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/28/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

You're Smarter Than You Look
by Judge Judy Sheindlin

Here's a tip for anyone contemplating buying the wit and wisdom of TV's rudest jurist: Read the three page summary near the front of the book. If her simple guidelines are a revelation to you, you probably need more help than you're going to find here. Judge Judy provides breezy descriptions of classic disputes between people in relationships and family dilemmas and follows these with recommendations. It's a great premise for a regular column (think Dear Abby and Ann Landers). But as a book, it seems little more than a way for Sheindlin to cash in on her TV fame. There is one surprise: She comes off as a real—even compassionate—human being. Sure there are barbs, but she also hands out plenty of common sense. One example: Even in the throes of a great relationship, she advises, don't give your beloved a loan without getting repayment terms in writing. And to divorced parents: Love your kids more than you hate each other. "My father once said to me when I was contemplating divorce from my first husband," she writes, " 'two innocent people shouldn't suffer for what two guilty people did.' " (Cliff Street/HarperCollins, $23)

Bottom Line: We find Judge Judy guilty of restating the obvious

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