I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life,
Death, and New Jersey
by Paul Rudnick
HarperCollins. 318 pages, $23.99
YEARS AGO, I was a subscriber to Premiere, a magazine that covered the film industry with glossy pictures of behind-the-scenes productions soon to be released and interviews with the stars. There was a regular column called “If You Ask Me,” written by Libby Gelman-Waxner, who presented herself as a Jewish soccer mom married to a dentist who had a son of bar mitzvah age. Libby had all sorts of opinions about the movies and the stars, and riffed on both with a zany mixture of Borscht Belt shtick and urbane wit. Innocent as I was, I read her as if she was, indeed, who she said she was, only to find out—through the gay grapevine, natch—that Ms. Gelman-Waxner was in fact the playwright Paul Rudnick.