Beloved for her wry yet warm look at family life, Erma Bombeck was America's favorite humorist at the time of her death in 1996. Ten of her 13 books, including Forever, Erma, appeared on the "New York Times" best-seller list. She claimed her first fiction writing was the weather forecast in the "Dayton Herald." Her favorite food was pasta, and her hobby was dust.
The housewife columnist whose gently subversive humor has won her a prominent niche in American culture is commemorated in this collection of over 120 of her most popular and memorable essays. Bombeck, whose bestsellers include All I Know About Animal Behavior I Learned in Loehmann's Dressing Room, died in 1996. Trained as a newspaper reporter, she honed her skills into a unique blend of humorous social commentary based on the quotidian passage of domestic life and an empathy with women in their relations with the larger world, including spouses and children. Much honored, quoted and sought after for advice, Bombeck had an infectious sense of human absurdity that is highlighted in this collection celebrating her 25-year career as a low-key enforcer of the positive in the face of adversity, whether it be her own terminal illness, or "missing socks, promiscuous hangovers and other unexplained phenomena" that were grist for her reporter's mill. (Oct.)
Women lost a champion and the world lost a humorist when Bombeck died at age 59 in April of this year. Exiting life as selflessly and graciously as she lived it (she refused to use her celebrity status to "jump the line" for a much-needed kidney transplant), Bombeck left us more than 4500 columns, 12 books, countless public appearances, and a glimmer of optimism intrinsic to her writings. Her latest book takes readers on a journey through a collection of her favorite writings compiled by Donna Martin (formerly a vice president of Andrews & McMeel) and journalist Alan McDermott with the assistance of Bombeck's secretary, Norma Born; Bombeck's husband, Bill; and Bombeck herself. This anthology runs the gamut of Bombeck's career, both chronologically and thematically, with tributes from Ellen Goodman and Art Buchwald, among others. Many public libraries already possessing Bombeck's works (most recently, All I Know About Animal Behavior I Learned in Loehmann's Dressing Room, HarperCollins, 1996) will want to make their collection complete with this selection.‘Kay Meredith Dusheck, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City