Dumping Billy

by Phil Hall
Wednesday May 12, 2004
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The late Olivia Goldsmith’s final book is a tiresome, sitcom-level comedy which trots out ancient stereotypes about women, Jews, gays and Brooklyn hunks. This is the type of book that should come with its own pre-recorded laugh track.

Kate Jameson is a Brooklyn-born babe who relocated across the river to a swanky Manhattan neighborhood and a cushy job as a psychologist for a ritzy private school. But her roots are deep in Brooklyn where her old gang of friends (known as the “Bitches of Bushwick”) still live. Kate is called back to Brooklyn to participate in a weird romantic plot. One of her old pals, Bina, is dumped by her fiancé. The scheme is to get Bina a date with Billy, a hot-to-trot local bartender with a curious track record: he dumps every woman he dates after one go-round, but the woman always winds up marrying the next man she dates. Thus, if Billy can date and dump Bina, she could hook up again with her errant fiancé.

The catch, of course, is that Kate winds up getting the hots for Billy and that ne’er-do-well gin-slinger seems to feel the same way about her.

Goldsmith’s plot and characters seem like they came out of a bad Tony Curtis movie, circa 1958. Her women are ridiculous creatures who have no sense of self-esteem, independence or brainpower. The men are obnoxious and immature, and the book has that new requirement for any contemporary comedy: the Paul Lynde-style quipster gay best friend.

This Billy should be dumped in the trash. There are better books to be found.

by Olivia Goldsmith

Warner Books, 323 pages, $24.00

Phil Hall is the author of "The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time


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