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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

February 11, 1996|ERIKA TAYLOR

SWEET REVENGE: The Wicked Delights of Getting Even by Regina Barreca (Harmony: $23; 274 pp.). Don't get mad, get even. Using a mixture of humorous commentary and anecdote, Regina Barreca takes readers on a tour through the mine-laden landscape of revenge--an impulse as old as mankind. Unfortunately, "Sweet Revenge" has a huge flaw that turns this book into a somewhat entertaining but hopelessly ineffectual read. Although Barreca writes with intelligence and wit, many sections are crammed full of superfluous information, padding. It is easy to see how this could have been a wonderful magazine article, but many readers may feel there just isn't enough new information for a book.

"Sweet Revenge" is at its best in its anecdotes. My personal favorite involves a graphic artist in London. Not only does her husband leave her for one of their close friends, but he wins the house in the divorce settlement. Knowing the new wife would be moving in shortly, the woman sewed miniature shrimp into the hems of every curtain just before leaving. "Sweet Revenge" is an amusing book that hopefully will be excerpted into various magazines.

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