Fran Lebowitz\' New York City sensibility has been called \"urban cool\" by scores of reviewers, and while she definitely embodies the sarcastic and the bitter, she makes us laugh throughout. Lebowitz floated between odd jobs before breaking into the literary circuit in the early 1970s, when Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for his Interview magazine. Nearly overnight, Lebowitz became known as a sharp-witted, irreverent humorist.
In 1994, The Fran Lebowitz Reader was released, combining all of her essays from Metropolitan Life and Social Studies into one riotous, cohesive publication. Reading Lebowitz in the 1990s, many of the essays, with titles like \"Success Without College\" and \"When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes...Shut Them,\" still delivered the big laughs, proving that her deflating humor was still viable decades after they were originally published.
Like Dorothy Parker of Algonquin Round Table fame, Lebowitz is best known for her lightning-fast, scathing comebacks. Her sophisticated pessimism and all-too-human humor make her a joy to read, whether it\'s done all in one sitting or one essay at a time.
I enjoyed this -- whether you do, or not, may depend on a)how much you can stand of Lebowitz's carefully stage-managed contrarianism, b) how relevant you think gripes and random observations about life in New York city in the 60s and 70s are (surprisingly relevant, I would argue: at their best, Lebowitz's chronicles of pet peeves seem like warning signals from a lost past), and c) whether you grew up in New York City, and you are brought to nostalgic tears by the mention of things like graffiti artist TAKI183, the grumpiness of bodega owners, the etiquette (or lack thereof) of taxi, bus and subway usage, among many, many other peculiarities of life in the Big Apple.
If the answer to C is "no," I can't help you, but I think there's enough amusement, and razor-sharp observation of human nature to make this worthwhile, even for those poor benighted souls born outside the Five Boroughs.
NEVER call it the Big Apple, by the way ... I think Fran would agree with me, on that one ...