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Extreme Makeover, Times Edition

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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LIPSTICK BUNGLE The author with Sex and the City scribe Candace Bushnell It's considered impolite to attend an event and spend the whole time talking about how much work the hostess has had done. But when the hostess is New York Times writer Alex Kuczynski, and the event is for Beauty Junkies, her new book about her ill-starred affair with plastic surgery, all bets are off.

"'I've never heard of someone being so late to their own party,'" deadpanned one of the half-dozen gossip columnists in attendance, scanning New York's '21' Club in a mock search of his old friend. (Kuczynski, of course, was standing right in front of him, albeit looking considerably different from the last time he had seen her.) Also on the scene were authors Candace Bushnell, Jay McInerney, and Erica Jong, agent David Kuhn and plasticine megaproducer Brian Grazer.

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But the real line of the night belonged to a particularly acid-tongued writer who has known Kuczynski for over a decade, long before her adventures with cosmetic science and her marriage to megabucks financier Charles Stevenson. "We used to say Alex was 60 percent human and 40 percent non-human," he announced to a circle of listeners. "Now she's 100 percent non-human."

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