cover image I Am What I Ate... and I'm Frightened!!!: And Other Digressions from the Doctor of Comedy

I Am What I Ate... and I'm Frightened!!!: And Other Digressions from the Doctor of Comedy

Bill Cosby. Harper Entertainment, $19.95 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-06-054573-4

In his latest book, the 65-year-old Cosby targets newly minted seniors (like himself) who find their bodies are heavier, slower and creakier than they ever expected. The title refers to Cosby's own experience with a 30-percent blockage in his carotid artery that qualified him for cardiac rehab and greatly increased his risk of having a stroke or a heart attack.""Now I know I'm a walking time bomb,"" Cosby writes--and tries to play the situation for laughs. In meandering and exasperatingly redundant prose, Cosby describes how he now must sneak chocolate chip cookies when his wife isn't looking, and how he daydreams about the bacon, butter, ice cream, croissants, pies and""cheese, cheese, cheese"" that he used to enjoy before his doctor put him on a diet. While Cosby's previous book, Fatherhood, elicited plenty of belly laughs, they are few and far between here. The biggest chuckles can be found when he segues into a critique of smokers, especially his anecdote about a houseguest who braves the weather to smoke outside, though it's 12 degrees below zero. Cosby also deftly critiques typically American paradoxes such as his mother's inability to stop eating fried lamb chops even after she has a series of strokes, and the whiskey-drinking done by a group of grieving friends after one of their alcoholic buddies dies of cirrhosis. But it's hard to appreciate Cosby's jokes when it's obvious that that the health of the people he makes fun of--including himself--appears doomed. Gallows humor has never been Cosby's forte, and readers who enjoyed his lighter works may be disappointed by this volume.