A faith-infused, uneven memoir about navigating a turbulent life.



A woman recounts her traumatic experiences, her redemptive love, and her abiding faith in God.

Nikolov’s debut memoir of her darkly traumatic past begins with her meeting a possible “Mr. Right,” an event she hoped might improve her life’s trajectory. The author, a Cuban-American with strong ties to the Dominican Republic, was on vacation there at Punta Cana with her free-spirited younger sister, Nicole, as the memoir opens. Nicole was eager to meet eligible guys, but Nikolov only wanted to relax and forget about men entirely—until she met “Dr. Boris,” a doctor from Bulgaria, whose gentle nature and dignified, respectful demeanor toward her won her heart and gained her trust. She found herself falling in love with “Bobby,” and this flows freely into the broadening of her memoir to tell her history of stark, almost unrelieved darkness. As a young girl, she was repeatedly sexually abused by the men in her mother’s life. When her older sister, Michelle, decided to intervene and call the police, the family was broken up, and Nikolov had all of this to confess to “Bobby” in order to be as honest as possible as their relationship deepened. He was unfazed, and the two got married—but the author’s troubles didn’t stop there. The narrative moves through more recounting of domestic stress, including Nikolov’s enjoying crack, which she describes as a “manic speed train out of myself.” Through it all, the author is often restored by her personal religious belief, although some of her faith observations seem a bit facile, shoehorned into the story of a complicated and morally challenging life. That life story is the most effectively done element of the book: Nikolov has a good ear for capturing the interpersonal dynamics of families under all kinds of stress. And the story swings back to an uplifting arc that will work on readers who’ve themselves seen some dark days and wondered if the future could be a little brighter.

A faith-infused, uneven memoir about navigating a turbulent life.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-15958-3

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Inspirational Books Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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