So far so good with Wendell. No signs of repressed memory or residual trauma in re: tail.

The Princeton reading was really fun, with a very nice turnout, including my former professor John McPhee (who was there in his capacity as Jenny McPhee's father). Kathy DeMarco also brought her whole family. I brought Adam...and the implicit promise that if we ever do a reading in Philly, I'll pack the house.

Here's my review of Elizabeth Wurtzel's latest, which ran in today's Inquirer. My first book review in the wake of GOOD IN BED, and my own experience being reviewed. As you can tell, I found the book enormously frustrating. I think Wurtzel's so talented, and it just drives me nuts that she doesn't seem to have the impetus to look past her own eyelashes and find a real story to tell.

The parts of the book that I found the most fascinating, though, illustrated just how much she was able to get away with as the author of one successful book. As she admits in More, Now, Again, Wurtzel wrote her second book while high on Ritalin and cocaine, living first in a hotel room, and then, when that doesn't do the trick, she moves into her editor's office. She camps out on a couch, has her drugs delivered to the lobby, and then, when it's finally time for rehab, her poor editor's the one stuck with the task of driving her there (her editor's assistant, meanwhile, is dispatched to Wurtzel's abandoned apartment to pack). And then she relapses, goes on book tour, cancels some of her interviews, nods out during others, misses flights, requires a babysitter, and uses her publisher's FedEx number to have her friends overnight her cocaine. I'll tell you, I felt much better about taking pistachios out of the mini-bar during my tour after I read that section.

But I also felt somewhat ambivalent about writing even a mixed review, because I remember (oh, how well I remember) the way reviews can hurt. Careful readers will notice that, in the middle of the review, there is a lovely, entirely positive sentence, suitable for back-cover blurbing! It's there in part because I remember how friends and associates would try to console me after I'd been zinged. "Look! She's comparing you to Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins! That's blurbable." "Yeah," I'd moan, "but she's only doing it to say that my book sucks." "Doesn't matter!" they'd reply. "Blurbable!"

For what it's worth, my review, while mixed, is blurbable. And I hope I haven't caused Ms. Wurtzel any undue misery.

So that's what's up around here. Today I'm going to read through my final draft of IN HER SHOES, looking for inconsistencies, redundancies, and passages that will make me wonder why I ever thought I was a writer. More soon!