I have always been a fan of Fran Lebowitz although I had never read any of her essays or books. I would enjoy seeing her on talk shows and was always fascinated at her witty humor. Whether I agreed or disagreed with her politics or ethics, I always found her quick, clever responses amusing. So when she landed on Netflix in a documentary about herself called Pretend It’s a City, which also featured Martin Scorsese it was a must watch for me. And it did not disappoint.
So it was then I decided to pick up her books of essays. This, unfortunately was easier said than done. You see Ms. Lebowitz has not written a book since the 1980’s, although she does seem to still write essays for magazines. She wrote two books of essays, I found out, Social Studies and Metropolitan Life. As I searched to buy one or the other I was flabbergasted to find that the cost of said books were astronomical! One of the books was selling for over $100 and I found someone selling the set for $2,500! And they were not even signed!
And that is how I discovered The Fran Lewbowitz Reader. This paperback sells for about $14 and is a compilation of some of the essays from both of the books she wrote. And although the book did not disappoint, I only wish I could have been able to read more of the essays from both of the original books.
Now remember, these books were written in the late 70’s, early 80’s which make the essays even funnier! One essay, Disco Hints, (I told you they were old) gives a glimpse of the proper way to dance at a disco, and how and who should take clothes off when getting hot dancing!
In the essay Color: Drawing the Line she gives her interpretation of what the primary and secondary colors really mean.
In Parental Guidance she gives suggestions to parents on raising their children, although she has none. One suggestion: “Do not on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you that what he feels like doing, you won’t feel like watching.”
There is a wonderful section titled The Frances Ann Lebowitz Collection in which she posts actual pictures of actual items in her apartment describing such items as if she were auctioning them off. These pictures are hilarious! She also gives Lebowitz sage advice on how to find an apartment in New York.
Although her sense of humor may not be for everybody, I truly enjoyed her satire, references and reflections from days gone by. Now if we could just convince her to write just one more book!