Biodegradable Soap

biodegradable soapIn a series of short takes, much like a soap opera format, Ephron ( Bruised Fruit ) delivers a wickedly accurate satire of trendy, self-indulgent upper- middle-class life in L.A. If indeed California is another country, Ephron has captured its sociological patterns with an unerring eye and a perfectly pitched ear. Her astringent wit does not preclude an empathy for most of her bewildered characters, who are trying to do the right thing by their own skewed idealistic standards, while behaving in as silly a manner as grownups are allowed.

In chronicling the breakup of Claudia and David Weiss's marriage, Ephron exposes the shallowness of their lives in a subculture devoted to perfecting their bodies (a personal trainer carries gossip and, sometimes, his sexual favors, from client to client); technological gadgets (David's car phone rings every time the car turns right) and saving the environment. Obsessed (as are her friends) with such problems as cancer-causing poisons, oil spills, the med fly and the insecticide used to eradicate it, and the hole in the ozone layer, well-meaning Claudia can't seem to concentrate on her plight when David, a successful agent, leaves her and their two daughters for a sexy Italian actress. The ensuing events are funny and poignant; Ephron's rapier is sharp but her touch is light.

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