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  June 12, 2000

Too Much of a Good Thing is Just Fine,
Says Barreca in Latest Essay Collection

Ask Regina Barreca to tell you where she gets the ideas for her newspaper columns, and you may be surprised by what you hear. According to Barreca, a professor of English, humor can be found in the most unlikely places and situations.

In Too Much of a Good Thing Is Wonderful, a new book of collected essays that were originally published as newspaper columns, Barreca finds amusement in some of life's most painful and touching moments. From an essay about her hysterectomy to another about growing up under the watchful eyes of her Sicilian aunts, Barreca explores the humorous aspects of her life.

Despite the disparate topics she addresses in her essays, Barreca says they all deal with issues such as friendship, love and relationships with relatives that other women can relate to. In one essay, Barreca writes about the aunts who taught her to dance while another questions why sexually aggressive female characters always die at the end of the movie.

Barreca says she considers herself fortunate to write about women's issues. "I feel like writing columns about women's issues puts me in fabulous company," she says. "I'm lucky to have guiding spirits like Dorothy Parker and Erma Bombeck looking over my shoulder."

The book's nearly 100 essays previously ran as columns in The Hartford Courant, The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. Published in May, the book's entries are divided into categories, such as family, vice, aging, desire and friendship. The cover features an original drawing by Nicole Hollander, the creator of the comic strip Sylvia.

"She is one of my heroines," Barreca says of Hollander.

Barreca says Suzanne Staubach, manager

of the general books division of the UConn Co-op, suggested the idea for the book. Staubach also edited the book, which was published by Bibliopola Press/UConn Co-op and is being distributed by the University Press of New England.

Part of the profits from the sale of each book will go to the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund.

Barreca's other books include They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted; Perfect Husbands (And Other Fairy Tales); and Sweet Revenge: The Wicked Delights of Getting Even. She is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Women's Humor.

In addition, Barreca is frequently quoted in national publications, including The New York Times, and has appeared on many television and radio programs, such as 20/20, 48 Hours and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Allison Thompson