Abbreviating ErniePosted: 2007/06/24
Lefcourt, Peter. Abbreviating Ernie. New York: Villard, 1997.
At first glance this humorous book is just plain cut and dried funny. Okay, bad pun. Read on and you’ll see why. Here’s the surface premise, the tip of the iceburg, of Abbreviating Ernie. Ernie and his wife are having sex. He drops dead of a heart attack. She’s blamed for his death. Here’s the just under the surface details: Ernie likes to dress in his wife clothes while having sex. He also likes to handcuff his wife and he can’t seem to “do the deed” anywhere normal. Long story cut short (there’s that pun again): Wife is found holding an electric carving knife, chained in the kitchen while hubby lies dead on the floor missing his “tommyhawk” as one character put it. All of this happens within the first twenty pages of the book so I found myself wondering what in the world Lefcourt would have say in the remaining 271.
Here’s the rest of the iceburg. Abbreviating Ernie is a commentary on the legal system, mental illness, women’s rights, the sensationalism the media can create, the Hollywoodization of a tragedy (what famous actor will portray the prosecutor?), and the exposure to human nature, often seen as failings. It’s about how warped our society can be when confronted with the dark secrets of suburbia. Yet, it keeps you laughing.
BookLust Twist: Abbreviating Ernie shows up in Pearl’s More Book Lust in the chapter on “Alabama” (p 207). While Abbreviating Ernie doesn’t take place in Alabama Pearl makes mention of Lefcourt’s book because Crazy in Alabama has an electric carving knife in its plot.