cover image Value Judgments

Value Judgments

Ellen Goodman. Farrar Straus Giroux, $22 (353pp) ISBN 978-0-374-16571-0

True to her book's title, Boston Globe syndicated columnist Goodman makes many value judgments in this collection of some 130 columns. She advocates lifting the ban on gays in the military; gives credence to Anita Hill's sexual harassment charges against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas; and lashes Woody Allen for failure to distinguish right from wrong in having an affair with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter. Goodman's pithy style and keen insights inform her essays on money and marriage, race relations, overpopulation, teaching children about sex, and urban squirrels as exemplars of adaptabilty and flat-out nerve. Although topical pieces on Madonna, the William Kennedy Smith date-rape trial and other fleeting events have lost their fizz, the columns, on balance, hold up well as a search for values in an age when parents neglect or abandon their children and children legally ``divorce'' their parents. (Oct.)