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I Read It So You Don't Have To: Leggy Blonde (by Aviva Drescher)

2020.06.29 16:10 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Leggy Blonde (by Aviva Drescher)

While I would never have imagined myself characterizing Aviva Drescher as 'a breath of fresh air,' I cannot overstate how much I am looking forward to reading her book after my last deep-dive (Alex and Simon's Little Kids, Big City). Aviva may be many things, but I am wholly confident that proudly-married-to-a-man-who-ejaculated-during-childbirth is not one of them.
Even the cover of the book sets my mind at ease -- a sun-kissed Aviva sits cross-legged in a bucolic field, smiling coyly at the camera as if to say, "Come, take a seat! Would you like to hear about my many phobias?" On the back cover, Aviva channels a young Janice Dickinson as she poses in light-wash bootcut jeans and a black button-down, her sleeves scrunched up in a particularly arm-circulation-impeding way and her thumbs hooked awkwardly into her front belt loops as if she were a cowboy adopting an especially exasperated stance.
As I open to the inside cover, however, I am met with a momentary jolt of panic that I must have, inexplicably, purchased the wrong book. According to the blurb, I am -- contrary to my expectations -- holding a memoir written by "one of the boldest cast members of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York City" and "most talked-about stars of reality TV." I am utterly at a loss as to who this could be referencing until I read on and hear the ghostwriter* gush about "Aviva's trademark wit, wisdom, and no-nonsense candor," after which it immediately becomes clear to me that this book was written by an alien whose only exposure to the vast spectrum of human emotions came from reading Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
*and yes, this one is absolutely written by a ghostwriter; we'll get back to that later.
Far be it from me to scoff at a good pun, but the four paragraphs of summary text on the book's inside cover contain no less than three distinct leg-related puns (a pun-to-paragraph ratio of 0.75, for those of you keeping score at home). We're told that Leggy Blonde (Strike 1) is "a story that stands all on its own" (Strike 2), and Aviva is described as a "native New Yorker [who] stands on her own two feet" (Strike 3). I hope we didn’t start off this leg of the journey on the wrong foot, but I'm not sure how much of this I can stand.
Despite (allegedly) receiving her JD from an actual accredited law school, Aviva is inexplicably compelled to include her high school (The Fieldston School, if that's something that matters to you) as a key detail within her short author bio. As a proud alumna of Julia Lee Moore Elementary School (Go Mustangs!!), I absolutely relate.
Before diving into the book in earnest, I have to get something off my chest. After smoking copious amounts of weed last night (again, if you read my last book review, you will know exactly what mental images made this necessary), I was suddenly struck by what I can only describe as a bolt of inspiration from The Beyond. When I woke up this morning, I immediately wrenched open my laptop and frantically tried to transliterate my fleeting vision into something our mortal minds might comprehend. This is the result.
Whew, okay. Now that all of the housekeeping is out of the way, let's dive in to the Preface.
There are two very important things to note about this book. One is that it was written by a ghostwriter. We know this because Aviva admitted to it, but also because it is incredibly, glaringly obvious from reading even the slightest bit of this book. I read one passage out loud to my boyfriend (because dramatic monologues from Real Housewives are truly the cornerstone of any lasting relationship), and his candid assessment was that this book "was definitely written by a recently graduated English major." As a slightly-less-recently graduated English major, I decline further comment. The second important thing to know as we begin this book is that Aviva genuinely and absolutely believes with her entire heart that she has lived the most exciting life of any person to have ever lived in the entire universe. To illustrate both points, I've transcribed the full preface verbatim for your perusal:
"It's always good for the memoirist to tell a story about the time she almost died." These were the words of advice given to me by a friend when I voiced my trepidation about writing a book.
Good news! I had about five near-death experiences.
Another friend's suggestion: "I like to read memoirs that pull back the curtain on a marriage gone wrong, with all the sordid, destructive lies and details. You know, pain, sadness, heartbreak. Uplifting stuff."
Seduction and betrayal and divorce? I had that covered, too.
A male friend said, "Kinky sex. Something weird. Off the beaten path."
"You mean like, say, amputee sex?" I asked.
"Exactly!"
Um, yeah. Check.
"I'm a junkie for addiction memoirs," said another friend. "Got any substance abuse sagas you can throw in there?"
Unfortunately yes, I did.
"I'm a sucker for exotic travel stories, like when a normal girl is air-dropped into an upside-down world," said another pal. "I also love weepy hospital scenes, a mother bravely biting back tears next to a kid in an oxygen tent. Oh, and you can't go wrong with dramatic courtroom showdowns, especially if they have a twist ending."
I had plenty of all of those stories, actually.
Looking back at my life with newfound objectivity, I realized that it had been a long, unbroken string of wild, one-in-a-million accidents, incidents, and adventures. I hadn't gone looking for any of them, but trouble gravitated toward me. I'd had my share of remarkable good fortune, too. If a person was the sum total of her life experiences, then I was a hell of a lot more than just another leggy blonde.
After learning Aviva has conveniently had every experience ever written about in a book ever, I am very much looking forward to the part in this memoir where she lives in a cupboard under the stairs until the day she finally receives her letter from Hogwarts. Also, I'd love to circle back to the male friend who loves kinky sex memoirs if we have a chance.
Moving right along into Chapter 1, we follow Aviva back to her childhood. In what should come as a shock to absolutely no one, we learn that her parents met when her father, George, was sleeping with one of her mother's model roommates. While also being married with three children. Don't worry, though! It was "love at first sight." And also one of these children (Aviva's half-siblings) is "an on-again-off-again drug addict." To answer your question, no, that detail is not accompanied by any more subtlety or additional context in the actual text.
The remainder of the chapter chronicles the accident in which Aviva lost her leg, as well as the hospitalizations and treatments that followed. And as enjoyable as it sounds to make fun of a small child's medical trauma, I think we'll mostly skip through this part. But, given that Aviva goes out of her way to mention several of the Very Cool and Very Interesting people in her wide circle of acquaintance, it feels like it would be rude of me to move on without at least mentioning Aviva's dear friend Sarah, one of "the cool hippies who created, Hotsox, those rainbow toesies tube socks" and also how Michael Douglas was once one of her neighbors in one of "the most prestigious buildings on the Upper West Side."
This same childhood apartment is later described by Aviva as having "an entire hallway of refrigerators, five of them, with glass doors." Why on earth would this be necessary, you might ask? "Well, we were a family of four with a household staff of three." Again, for those of you keeping score at home, this works out to 0.714 refrigerators per occupant.
The next few chapters chronicle the remainder of Aviva's childhood and teenage years, including this bizarre and tone-deaf anecdote about a trip to a shoe store:
My mother and I used to pick out some shoes, and then the salesperson would kneel down and attempt to put the shoes on me…For a shoe salesperson, the experience must have been freaky. Probably like a guy taking home a woman he meets in a nightclub only to be surprised by a penis in her panties.
Aviva also reassures us that "physical imperfections shouldn't stop anyone from feeling pretty. Ever." Which, let's be real, is thing that only an extremely pretty person would ever say. She goes on to attend Vassar College, and absolutely hates it because she is a huge loser who hates fun:
Instead, Vassar college might as well have been Woodstock. Barefoot hippies tripped around campus with dreads, tie-dye pajama bottoms, and Baja pullovers. Parties centered around pot and "funnels," a plastic funnel duct-taped onto a long plastic tube. The funneler put the tube end in her mouth and knelt on the floor, while her friends poured beer into the funnel. You didn't have to be a physics major to understand the effect of gravity on chugging. Beer careened through the teeth, over the tongue, look out stomach, here it comes. I didn’t funnel, but it was entertaining to watch my friends do it. They sure got wasted, which was their goal. Inhaling a carbonated beverage at top speed wasn't my thing. It seemed reckless and kind of stupid. I wasn't into drunken girl-on-girl hookups either. And there was no amount of beer on earth that could make Birkenstocks attractive.
Where were the blazers, lattes, and horses?
I am momentarily caught up in picturing a person who, upon picking up this book, had never before heard of a beer bong, and is learning about the idea for the very first time from Aviva's description. Also by the statement, "I didn't funnel," which I can perfectly picture Aviva saying in a particularly self-righteous timbre. Most importantly, as the current world-record holder for fastest-carbonated-beverage-inhaled, it's frustrating to see my accomplishments so blatantly devalued. At least the last sentence of the passage confirms something that I have always known, deep down, to be true, which is that Aviva is a Horse Girl.
Despite her latent Horse Girl tendencies, Aviva does manage to find a group of cool-enough, sophisticated-enough Manhattan transplants to befriend. As luck would have it, one of these turns out to be the son of Diane von Furstenberg, and the icon of course gushes on and on to Aviva about how beautiful she is when the two meet. Aviva then moves to Paris, where her status as "a relatively attractive young American" earns her an easy position in a fairly desirable social circle. Everyone mistakes her for Claudia Schiffer and people are constantly asking her what agency she models for, which Aviva tries very (read: not at all) hard to portray as super annoying. She sees Sylvester Stallone in a club one night, and he tells her she "can really dance." I am picturing Camille Grammer dancing in Las Vegas, but with Aviva's face, and I really hope I'm not too far off base.
Throughout this section, Aviva struggles from not really being able to commit to how she wants to portray herself. In one sentence, she describes herself as "addicted to the nightlife," but also makes it abundantly clear that she did not partake in either alcohol or "the vials of cocaine that were constantly waved under my nose at the clubs." In the following passage, we start on one of Aviva's attempts to impress upon the reader how edgy and glamourous her life has become, then take an almost immediate U-turn where she decides she's actually super boring and essentially a spinster after all. To what end, I have no idea.
We were a fast group, and really lived it up. We studied during the day, and indulged in restaurants and clubs at night. Nothing seedy or dangerous. We were actually pretty staid. We called ourselves the Golden Girls because we acted like old ladies.
Lest we forget that she is Very Fashionable(TM) and Not Like Other Girls(TM), Aviva tells us that she "started collecting Birkin bags [in Paris] before they were popular in America." We also get a list of Aviva's phobias, which includes such assorted inanities as "terrorists," "aluminum foil," and "some spiders (big ones are fine)."
Aviva recounts the story of her engagement to a man named Jonathan, which is broken off after she fails to heed his mother's advice and sleeps with the aforementioned fiancé before the wedding. And that's the moral of the story. Or, as Aviva sagely quips, "I'd given away the milk. And our relationship soured." I felt bad for her for approximately as long as it took me to read the descriptions of her prospective bridesmaids' dresses, after which I feel like the breakup was perhaps for the best.
Each bridesmaid dress was going to be a bright, solid color spaghetti-strap tank with a giant tulle skirt in the same bright color. So one bridesmaid was going to have bright yellow, another fuchsia, and so on.
We are treated to yet another breezy name-drop -- "a young designer and friend named Tory Burch (yes, the very same)" -- before Aviva moves right along into her next relationship, in which she "finally fulfilled my lifelong doctor fetish." I really hope that Aviva is using the word 'fetish' in the lighthearted, casual sense, and not in the way that I -- someone who has seen every episode of Strange Sex and also every documentary ever made about furries -- would use it.
The ghostwriter has a bit of fun exploring the magic of metaphors at the end of this chapter, where we learn that "having elective surgery and calling off the wedding were both drastic amputations," but that Aviva "hoped that the pruning of broken parts and relationship [sic] would clear the way for new things to grow." Which doesn’t seem like a particularly suitable analogy given that amputated legs, as a historical rule, don't grow back. But I digress.
In the next chapter, Aviva discovers Judaism, a connection she says "would fill a hole inside that I didn't know existed, until I felt it being filled up." It takes everything I have to control my inner fourteen-year-old boy at this moment. We learn the fun fact that you can find Jewish people anywhere -- "even Texas!" -- but of course, just meeting a regular Jewish boy would be far too pedestrian for our Poor Little Cool Girl, Aviva.
How many gentile girls went to Torah classes and wound up falling in love with a Persian man? What are the odds? About the same as getting your foot stuck in a barn cleaner.
Her new boyfriend, Ricky, was apparently "rooted in his family's ancient Persian culture," which makes me imagine him exactly like this. Aviva pops in to remind us of her phobic nature ("Oh, I forgot to put that on my list! I am afraid of chlorine, too!") before telling us more about the process of converting to Judaism. But lest you think that Aviva was just your regular, run-of-the-mill Jewish person after this, she clarifies, "I went into the mikvah a shiksa and came out a Jew, possibly the tallest and blondest in New York City." There is definitely something vaguely unsettling about Aviva making sure we know that she is the most Aryan Jewish person of them all, but I don't feel qualified to dive down that particular rabbit hole at the moment.
Chapter Eight -- entitled "Everything You Wanted to Know about Amputees (But Were Afraid to Ask)" -- is a question-and-answer style FAQ about life with a prosthetic leg. Why this chapter is sandwiched in between two chapters telling a continuous chronological narrative of Aviva's life is completely inexplicable to me. I'm not exaggerating: Chapter Seven ends with Aviva telling us she had "started to hate myself for wanting [Ricky] at all," and Chapter Nine starts with "Ricky and I broke up for the fifth time." And in between, we get 26 questions ranging from "What does the leg feel like?" ("soft rubber, to the touch") to "Have you been hit on by amputee fetishists?" ("Yes!"). She also tells us about how much she's been loving Soul Cycle, and includes a handy link to "www.soul-cycle.com."
Aviva describes herself as a "realist's realist," a characterization that I don't think I'm entirely comfortable endorsing. And we get yet another I'm-not-sure-if-this-is-supposed-to-be-a-missing-leg-joke-or-not: "I tell myself that if they walked a mile in my shoes, they wouldn't feel the same way." Aviva also tells us that she is "not rash prone," which I consider to be the single most surprising fact that she has shared with us so far, before relaying the following story:
My ten-year-old stepdaughter, Veronica, came into my bedroom last night and put my prosthesis between her knees and said, "I've got three legs!" (Okay, stop thinking dirty here, guys).
Her interjection makes me shockingly defensive. Aviva! I wasn't even thinking anything dirty! I promise! And I don't even know what the point of this story would be if it wasn't that your kid said something that sounded dirty! Why are you doing this to me? Furthermore, I am highly suspicious that this interaction occurred "last night." Pretty convenient timing, there, hmm Aviva?
The chapter ends with the question "Do you ever use your leg to get out of things you don't want to do." Aviva answers "No," and it becomes clear to me that I should take every claim made in the remainder of the book with a heaping pinch of salt.
Returning to our chronicle of Aviva's madcap life, we meet our first RHONY connection, the indominable Harry Dubin. But how, you may ask, did Aviva manage to meet such a dashing, eligible bachelor? "I can't explain how or why I always hooked up with guys from wealthy families. Maybe because I come from one. Like attracted like." Must be nice.
I was in the middle of writing a paragraph about how Aviva had finally managed to do something fairly endearing by turning down Harry's invitation to George W. Bush's inaugural ball -- "for the inauguration of a president-elect I didn’t support?...I said, 'Thanks, but no thanks.'" Unfortunately, no sooner had I prepared to channel my inner Natalie Maines than I read more closely.
The next time I heard from Harry, he invited me to the presidential inauguration and inaugural ball for George W. Bush in January 1997.
Granted, I was busy being three years old at the time, but I am fairly certain that George W. Bush was not the president in 1997. The only explanation I can possibly come up with is that Aviva and Harry Dubin are both deeply entrenched in some sort of Illuminati-tier secret society that preordained Bush for the presidency several years before it came to pass. Which, honestly, would explain a lot. If anyone would like to pass this hot tip along to Alex Jones, please, be my guest.
Aviva goes on to marry Harry Dubin, giving him all of her savings when he promises "it'll double or triple in no time." And exactly one paragraph later, the money is gone. "Not a penny left." Aviva refers to this incident without a hint of irony as "the first inkling I'd had that Harry might not have a passion for banking."
The couple moves into a "sexy little duplex," and Aviva gets pregnant with their first child. She tells Harry's mother that the conception was "a sloppy accident," which is probably the worst way I could ever imagine telling your mother-in-law that her son jizzed inside of you. Typical to form, Aviva doesn't just get regular old morning sickness, but "hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness -- the same illness Princess Kate was hospitalized for during her pregnancy." This forces her to make the heartbreaking decision to step back from her "quite profitable" business, JAM Jewelry, which sells handmade Swarovski crystal bracelets and I presume to be some sort of knockoff Claire's competitor from the mid-90s.
After Harrison is born, Aviva comes to the ever-so-slightly-too-late realization that Harry Dubin's 'business career' has essentially been a sham, and almost all of his bills are actually paid by his mother and grandfather. Over the following months, the couple are asked to leave their apartment (as Harry's grandfather had, unbeknownst to Aviva, been paying for it the whole time) and the relationship continues to deteriorate. So, in a move I honestly hope that I would emulate in her position, Aviva files for divorce and gets a boob job. Of course, as Aviva is far too unique for standard, even-numbered bra sizes, she walks out of surgery with "29D breasts." Reflecting on the experience, she says:
In hindsight, I should have stayed in New York. The northern doctors made breasts smaller, more fashion friendly. Miami boobs were just too big.
Eleven years later, I regret that surgery. My prosthetic boobs are my cross to bear. They remind me of that horrible time, plus they don't even look good anymore. I breast-fed two children with them, and they've become huge and saggy. The term "rocks in socks" comes to mind.
Rock in socks on chicks on fox. Fox on clocks on rocks in socks. Dr. Seuss rhymes bounce around my head for the remainder of the chapter. More importantly, this stands in direct contradiction to Aviva's infamous "the only thing that is artificial or fake about me is this" claim. But I suppose "the only thing that is artificial or fake about me is this, and also my tits," just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Chapter Eleven opens on Aviva and Reid's meet-cute, an absurdly scripted encounter that I refuse to believe actually happened as she relays it:
Apropos of nothing in particular, the man said, "It's tough being a new single dad."
What? Single? I flung my hair back and said, "Oh, I'm single, too."
This honestly sounds like the opening dialogue of truly terrible porn. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the dulcet tones of Cara Quici in the background.
Aviva wastes no time in telling us that Reid is first cousins with Fran Drescher, although he is "low key about it and unimpressed." She quickly goes on to say, "we shared a coolness regarding celebrities," which (if you have been even vaguely following along) you should be able to identify as complete bullshit.
Aviva briefly ends things with Reid due to "bad timing" and goes on a few dates with a man who is ultimately uncomfortable with her prosthetic leg. She reflects,
I don’t have contempt for him at all. We all lose attraction to people for superficial reasons. But given the situation, I think he should have faked it for another date to spare my feelings.
This vignette perfectly encapsulates Aviva's particularly infuriating brand of "I totally get it, but also it's different for me and those rules don't apply." I’m honestly surprised that she wasn't also mad at him for failing to surprise her with a "Welcome Aviva! You Made It To Our Date!" banner.
We get a brief aside about an impending hurricane that includes an unsurprising revelation about Aviva's father -- that he "didn't believe in mainstream medicine, the political system, or the Weather Channel." His suspicion falls primarily on the last of the three, which he describes as "corruption and bullshit" and decries for "making [the hurricane] up to sell advertising."
Aviva and Reid reconnect and begin a friendship that quickly grows to something more. However, in a refreshing change of pace from Alex and Simon's book, Aviva respectfully limits her descriptions of their physical passion to the following:
Reid rocked. (I would write more here but my children may Google this.)
Reid soon proposes with a "chunky, cool, and fun" yellow kunzite ring. Says Aviva:
[This] was a relief...I wasn't a fan of diamonds. They make other women really happy, and that is great for them.
I am getting strong vibes of someone who gets an unflattering haircut and then exerts a lot of effort trying to convince everyone that they really, really love it.
In Chapter Twelve ("My Angel"), Aviva's mother dies, and her father devolves into his current state of "satyriasis," which is just not a word any normal person should use to describe their father when the phrase "horny old man" works just as well. We also get this footnote that is simultaneously utterly bizarre and totally unsurprising:
I'm not fluent in five languages as I claimed on the set of The Real Housewives of New York City, unless you count "New York" and "Housewife" as languages (I could make a case for it). I speak only three: English, French, and Spanish. My German peaked at age one. I don't know why I made that outrageous claim on the show, but then I don't know why I say a lot of what I say on the show.
Well, that makes two of us, then!
Aviva displays a palpable sense of insecurity at the idea that Reid "sought out an over-thirty almost divorced mother" when he "could have gone the whole 'my girlfriend the model' route or just man-whored around for a couple of years" And, rather than just taking a Xanax and calming down, Aviva becomes immediately obsessed with having Reid's biological child -- "biological siblings would be the glue that stuck Harrison and Veronica [Aviva and Reid's children from prior relationships] together."
Before there's time for that, however, the couple first has to deal with a fair bit of drama regarding Reid's ex, a "tough cookie" named Jane. Fortunately, as Aviva wastes no time in letting us know, the passion of the situation "was a turn-on," which sounds like kind of thing someone who's really into shipping The Joker and Harley Quinn would say.
Aviva and Reid finally get married, and she gives birth to their son shortly after: "Hudson (formerly known as Brandon -- nutcase me, I changed his name when he was four months old)." Eight months later, she contracts Legionnaires' disease, which I am essentially an expert on by virtue of watching this particular episode of House). As we are well aware by this point, this is just the sort of thing that happens to kooky little Aviva.
You see why I'm a hypochondriac? Because if anyone is going to get a hotel disease in her own bathroom, it's me. Dr. Kruger was an absolutely brilliant diagnostician to think of testing me for Legionnaires'. He had no reason to do so; it's that rare. Well, I survived it.
We’re also treated to a delightful little housewives cameo, which I'm hoping is only an amuse bouche before the true entrée of Chapter Fifteen ("Housewives").
While not paying his child support, Harry dated LuAnn de Lesseps for a hot minute. It was LuAnn's single year, after her divorce from the Count but before she met her now-fiancé Jacques. I knew LuAnn. We had a mutual friend. I remember telling our friend that it wouldn't look good for LuAnn to date Harry on her TV show. His scenes with her didn't air, fortunately for LuAnn.
I'm on my third Housewives book at this point, and I truly never cease to be amazed by the sheer lack of competent editorial oversight. Just one example: "But still, t [sic] wasn't so easy to walk away." My absentminded fantasy about becoming a copy editor who caters exclusively to the reality-television-adjacent is seeming more and more like a legitimately lucrative business idea.
We round out this chapter with yet another shining example of Aviva taking the high road and being the bigger person (but then immediately and not-so-subtly making sure it's clear exactly how wounded she has personally been):
To me, that seems like holding on to the past. I think it would be healthier for Jane to let go of Reid. However, I could understand how it would be hard to get over him. I can understand her still hanging on. I am not sure how her husband feels about it though.
I can't help but imagine these lines being solemnly intoned by a middle-aged Southern woman sitting on a veranda and sipping a mint julep. Bless her heart. She's an absolute monster and I'd be shocked if her husband didn't have a mistress by this point, that poor dear.
The following chapter is only remarkable in its contrast to my previous write-up of Simon and Alex's parenting book. I feel like singing from the rooftops when Aviva boils down her parenting philosophy to "I do my best to raise them to be good people and the rest is up to them." I am almost brought to tears by my relief when her description of childbirth is limited to the remark "I found birthing to be a civilized process." And though I did roll my eyes just a little bit at the line "If we have a Super Bowl party, I will serve Doritos, even soda (Not Coke, though. That stuff puts me over the edge.)," I just can't bring myself to snark too harshly on anyone who spares me graphic descriptions of their newborn's bowel movements (Yes, Alex McCord, this means you).
Chapter Fifteen brings us the obligatory montage of Aviva's Housewives experience, most notable for a wildly-missing-the-mark apology for calling Sonja and Ramona "white trash" that I think might be my favorite passage from the entire book. Take a peek:
I get a vibe from some people that they think I believe that I'm in some way better than them, that I'm a snob. Maybe I am a bit of a snob. The thing is, it's not that I think I'm better than they are, it's just that I like my taste more than I like theirs. It's just human nature. I prefer my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to your, say, Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese. I'm not judging your goddamn white-trash macaroni and cheese. I just like mine better. I don't think that makes me a snob. I try not to make a show of my taste. But I tend toward the classic styles in literature, music, dress, and art. Those of us who do will always be accused of snobbery.
This argument demonstrates a woefully inadequate understanding of the ways in which endemic cultural and institutional biases inescapably shape our perceptions of what we esteem to be good and valuable and worthwhile. And is also just plain irritating.
Aviva tells us that, even before she appeared on Housewives, she "did get a kick out of watching LuAnn de Lesseps." She further notes that "I had no idea anyone was a Count or Countess. I did not even know what that was until the show introduced LuAnn." Excuse me, Aviva? Count von Count would like a word with you.
Again, I am 0% surprised to hear that George "was way into it" when he learned his daughter will be appearing on RHONY. But I was a bit surprised to hear Aviva say that "it wasn't lost on me that Bethenny Frankel used Housewives as a springboard to an industry that includes books, DVDs, products, and her own TV show." In this moment, I am suddenly struck by the realization that Aviva may very well see herself as a Bethenny in her own mind. Astonishing. I cannot for the life of me imagine what an Aviva Drescher DVD would consist of, although I suppose this book has demonstrated that there are more than enough leg and foot related puns available for her to leverage as quirky product names. But as we well know, a Writer Girl she is not.
Reflecting on her first year on the show, Aviva notes, "My behavior drew viewers' attention away from my leg. I got no special sympathy for it. They loved or hated me based only on who they perceived me to be. They forgot about my leg entirely. Mission accomplished." What she doesn't note, however, is that this mission will be promptly un-accomplished for anyone who actually reads her book and has to be reminded that Aviva has a prosthetic leg on approximately every third page.
In Chapter Sixteen ("Lost and Found"), Aviva sends us off by summing up her life wisdom in quippy lines like, "Loss is a fact of life." At least to me, this is a clear homage to the advice Lindsay Lohan offers in her opus, I Know Who Killed Me -- "People get cut. That's life." The memoir ends with these decidedly uninspired lines which, if they were turned in to me in a passage from one of my writing tutees, would undoubtedly be underlined several times and paired with a note in the margins saying something like, vague clichés -- point??. It honestly seems like she came up with four alternate sign-off lines for the book, couldn't decide between them, and just decided to stick them all end-to-end and call it a day.
That's how I came to terms with just about everything. So that's my life so far. It's a work in progress. Stay tuned.
In the acknowledgements, Aviva gives a shout-out to "transcriber Lynn Monty" who "did fast and fabulous work typing my stories" a.k.a. was the one who actually wrote this book. "Faren Bachelis," as she continues, "did a wonderful job copy-editing." Which I suppose means that I learned at least one thing from reading this book, and that is that Aviva Drescher and I have vastly different definitions of the word "wonderful."
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