Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: The Life and Times of Heidi Abromowitz

Title: The Life and Times of Heidi Abromowitz


Author: Joan Rivers

Date: 1984

Publisher: Delacorte

ISBN: 0-385-29359-3

Length: 99 pages

Illustrations: black-and-white cartoons by James Sherman

Quote: “When someone mentions the name of Heidi Abromowitz, words such as ‘virtuous,’ ‘chaste,’ ‘honorable,’ ‘moral,’ and ‘upright’ never come to mind.”

Although it's raunchier than the books I usually review, I've read this one and, actually, liked it. There's a fine line between dirty jokes, which are funny, and dirty remarks, which are merely embarrassing. In my opinion this book lies precisely on the funny side of the line.

There is not, of course, a real Heidi Abromowitz (who used to be Joan Rivers’ confidential friend, until she gave Rivers’ dog a sexually transmitted disease). That's just a name for the target in this collection of not-technically-explicit dirty jokes and suggestive cartoons. As such, it’s as close as I’ve seen to being exhaustive. There probably are some double entendres and innuendos about women or couples that aren’t included in this book, but if you even try reading Heidi Abromowitz as a book, you won’t want to bother about them.

Let us face it. You might read Heidi Abromowitz in order to laugh at smutty-tinged jokes, in order to find printable but dirty jokes to recycle at a “roast,” or in order to fantasize about shameless heterosexual promiscuity. Either way, 99 pages is more than you really need.

“Like men in later years, Heidi’s toys said a lot about her; all of it unprintable. Her dollhouse had a red light on it! Her coloring books had dirty pictures!”

“She used to hang out in their locker room and play checkers just so she could say, ‘Jump me’!”

“Heidi was reluctant to leave Paris for a number of reasons—most of them male. (As she’d say later, ‘Why they call that place Gay Paree I’ll never know.’)”

“Heidi’s Opinions On…Arms Control: ‘Why bother, unless you’re being squeezed too tightly?’”

“Not surprisingly, the moment that tramp hit the streets she got lots of offers. Some were even for jobs. Consumer Reports asked her to rate Vaseline.”


Personally, if I’m going to be mean, I prefer to be clean and mean. Who cares about the sins, known or suspected, of someone's sexual past when people need to know that s/he is dishonest, unreliable, or incompetent now. However, I’ve known people who couldn’t tell a dirty joke without using Formerly Unprintable Words. It is for the edification of those people that this book is recommended. If you really need wittier, more upscale ways (that won’t get you thrown into the drunk tank if you happen to be in a public place in my town) to suggest that Jane Doe does something of a non-family-filtered nature with dogs, without using those words, here are almost a hundred pages.