Anne Fadiman

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 157

[In Metropolitan Life] Fran Lebowitz does for New York what W. C. Fields did for children and dogs. She's a professional fad puncturer….

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Lebowitz is funniest when she's genuinely astonished—as when she hears that broken fingernails can be replaced by nails from a nail bank…. (p. 82)

When she and her victims are unevenly matched, Lebowitz is less successful. It's no fun to watch her pick on est or CB radios or leisure suits: They've already been bullied to death. Conversely, she can be overly offensive when she takes on topics too large for her, such as homosexuality and race. And sometimes she's just plain confusing—a cardinal sin in this brand of humor….

The major problem with Metropolitan Life is that it is a book instead of a magazine article. Lebowitz is strong stuff and should be taken in small doses. (p. 84)

Anne Fadiman, in Saturday Review (© 1978 by Saturday Review Magazine Corp.; reprinted with permission), April 15, 1978.

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