cover image Desperate Women Need to Talk to You

Desperate Women Need to Talk to You

Joan Frank, Author Conari Press $14.5 (146p) ISBN 978-0-943233-68-0

The author's self-pitying attitude does little to illuminate the trials and tribulations of single urban women in this collection of brief essays, some of which previously appeared in Ms., Newsday and other publications. Whether she is discussing her frustrations with panty hose that disintegrate on contact or the fear of remaining childless, Frank's pieces sound whiney and mean-spirited. Disgusted with a group of people, she says they ``made me feel rancid.'' Describing the letdown after one brief encounter she says: ``One moment they're a shining hothouse bloom of wit and warmth: the next they are a cold turd, an ugly absurdity.'' Frank is at her best in a longer piece describing her pain at her mother's death when she was a young girl, and her mature understanding of what her mother's life was like. Less successful are several repetitive pieces detailing the author's ill-fated experiences on the dating scene, as an initially attractive male turns out to be fatally flawed within. It's hard not to wonder what the other side of the story might sound like. Frank covers other standard women's page fare-gaining weight, sexism at the office, dressing for one's beau, and the fear of growing old-but these midlife reflections, burdened with a cutesy, inappropriate title, offer no original insights to distinguish this volume from others of its genre. (Sept.)