The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz

Heidi copies famous Marilyn photo holding down her skirts
Heidi isn’t Marilyn.

All you need to know about Joan River’s novel The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz is that it is by Joan Rivers.

The book is 99 pages of one-liners about sex and syphilis designed to titillate a night club audience that’s already imbibed too much to survive a breathalyzer test.

Rivers doesn’t even attempt to create a plot.

The front cover cartoon of Heidi standing on a grating with the skirt of her dress blowing up around her thighs suggests Marilyn Monroe.

The cartoon on the back of the dusk jacket showing Heidi pulling her dress off doesn’t suggest anything. It’s a statement: Heidi is a whore.

James Sherman’s pen-and-ink humorous illustrations are the best part of the book. He captures the incidents Rivers relates without the tawdry nastiness that is Rivers’ stock in trade.

Heidi as a kindergartener
Heidi was the center of her own world from preschool.

While displaying Heidi’s physical assets, Sherman makes Heidi’s eyes reveal her mental deficits. Without his work, the book would be total trash.

It says something about American taste that this un-funny abomination outsold Gore Vidal’s Lincoln in 1984.

The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz
by Joan Rivers
Illustrations by James Sherman
Delacourt Press. 1984. [Book Club ed.] 99 p.
1984 bestseller #9. My grade: D-

©2019 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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