cover image THE GIFT OF JAZZY


Cindy Adams, . . St. Martin's, $19.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-312-27307-1

Some writers are so careful with their prose that it seems each sentence has been crafted with a thoughtful combination of precision and grace. Then there's Cindy Adams. A New York Post columnist for 20 years, Adams is like a slap where a kiss is expected; she doesn't want to build a house of words—she wants to blow one down. And huff and puff she does in this small memoir about receiving a Yorkshire terrier as a gift after her husband's death. After explaining why she named the dog "Jazzy" (because of his frantic, jazzed-up energy), Adams details the pup's tendency to piddle on clothes and his propensity for getting Adams into tricky situations, e.g., getting locked into a hallway with Imelda Marcos. Delivered with Adams's rapid-fire, detail-free style, these adventures are wearying at first, but the book begins to do to the reader what the dog, predictably, does to its owner: charms through sheer force of will and sweet bumbling. Although Adams chronicles what it's like to be a new widow, she also recognizes the absurdity of finding comfort in a teensy dog that likes bones from Gallagher's steakhouse and drinks Poland Spring in a posh New York apartment. This self-consciousness, mixed with Adams's descriptions of truly humorous incidents, make the book a guilty little treat, gobbled up in one bite on those nights when all that carefully crafted prose seems a bit too thoughtful, and decidedly unjazzy. (Feb. 14)

Forecast:Blurbs from Rosie O'Donnell ("Two paws up!"), Liz Smith, Judge Judy and others will jazz up sales for this one, as will a national author tour.