Talk about value for money -- Bruce Jay Friedman's new book may be slim on words, but it's packed with stories, about 200 of them at my count. Sexual Pensees is a collection of snippets, koans, aphorisms, proverbs, apocryphal tales, and blind items to titillate even the most chaste among us. From Hollywood eccentricities to a particularly delicious morsel involving the WWII singing sensations the Andrews Sisters, the book will keep you in stitches.
It's remarkable how Friedman, the multi-talented writer of everything from movies (Splash, The Lonely Guy, Doctor Detroit), to plays, to novels, to short stories (Neil Simon adapted Friedman's hilarious storyThe Heartbreak Kid into one of the funniest films ever made -- go see it now!), can boil down an entire life into four or five deft sentences. Flash fiction writers take note -- an entire world is in each one of these missives.
But more than that, Friedman does the essential task of rescuing sex from the three P's -- porno, prurience, and pomposity -- although he's left in a dollop of polymorphous perversity, thank goodness. These are funny tales of people at their most naked, letting it all hang out, even if they happen to be fully clothed. We're never more ourselves than when we're doing the sexual dance. It's not just for men, or for women, but for adult people who want to laugh, even cry, about what other adult people go through when it comes to topic A. It's like a blast of fresh air in our polarized, insane times where gay-bashing preachers are outted and sex is once again a dirty word. The drawings, by Andre Barbe, are done with taste and wit and a nice dollop of French perversity. Bravo to all involved.
'Til next time... Ken Krimstein
Mr. Krimstein is a writer, cartoonist, father, and grump who lives in New York City. So there.