Tama Janowitz, who broke into the literary world with her cheeky 1986 novel Slaves of New York, goes straight over the top in her first nonfiction work, a collection of essays as erratic as a New York City taxi. In a series of quick-take scenes she pretends to propose to a naive Englishman in need of a green card, has a miscarriage at a cocktail party and flies to China to adopt a daughter. And that's just in the first 20 pages.
A kind of proto-Carrie Bradshaw, the author is at her liveliest on the subject of her social life in the giddy '80s. But her humor often seems forced, and fun bits about Andy Warhol compete with musings on ephemera such as potato chips or even ferrets. At one point Janowitz gets frustrated while trying to take her daughter Willow to a wading pool. "I think...we're a little bit lost," she says. It's a feeling that readers may have throughout this sprawling—but spirited—book.