Alice K's Guide to Life: One Woman's Quest for Survival, Sanity, and the Perfect New Shoes

Caroline Knapp, Author Plume Books $12.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-452-27121-0
If you've never flipped through a women's magazine, you may enjoy this collection of columns from the Boston Phoenix. But if you're a regular reader of Glamour, Mademoiselle or Cosmo, you'll most likely find Knapp's writing tedious, hackneyed and decidedly unfunny. Knapp's spokesperson is the eponymous Alice K., a 33-year-old single woman who works at Green Goddess, ``the magazine for today's enviro-conscious woman.'' Alice K. covers the usual single-woman beat: sex, dating, men, step classes, bad hair days, therapy and the supreme importance of accessories. In ``Pseudo-Spa II: The All-Shoe Weekend,'' Alice K. is feeling ``lethargic and bloated and premenstrual. Then she has a thought. `If these were the '80s, I'd have to start a diet and head to the gym. But no! The '80s are long gone!... What I really need is some new shoes!'"" Not only is Knapp considerably less witty and original than Merrill Markoe or Cynthia Heimel (to whom she is compared on the back cover), but she has the rare distinction of making Erma Bombeck sound fresh and witty. Knapp's problem isn't insipidness (or fashion magazines would have been transformed long ago); it's the shallowness of her observations and the fact that she's not nearly as funny as she thinks she is. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/1994
Release date: 10/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
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