Pretending to Say No

Bruce Benderson, Author Plume Books $8.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-452-26390-1
In the representative title story, Nancy Reagan drops in on druggies in a crummy New York neighborhood claiming to have slipped away from an anti-drug meeting in search of a needle and thread to fix her sagging hem. Benderson supplies some funny lines (``Chaka takes a good look at the hands and the shoe size too and says, Holy Shit, you're her!''), obscenities aplenty, and a raunchy denouement: the junkies peep at the dame in the red dress when she visits the bathroom and discover that she really is a transvestite. Remaining entries also explore drug-related and gay themes, from ``A Visit from Mom,'' a graphic sexual encounter between a Jewish man and a black ex-convict peppered with the former's fond thoughts of his aging mother, to ``Family Romance,'' in which a father steals cocaine from his adopted son. The occasional glimmers of insight and humor alas fall victim to Benderson's ( The United Nations of Times Square ) eagerness to shock his audience. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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