Like Walker's past collections, this one makes a stab at some of the themes of her fiction—nonpatriarchal religion, the true relationship of humans to the earth, racism, the oppression of women, and the interconnectedness of all of the above. But like her earlier essays, these fail to address the issues with anything approaching the grace of her fiction. She covers both the large and small, the historic and the everyday, celebrating the Million Man March, Zora Neale Hurston, Winnie Mandela, dreadlocks, and her family. But too often, when she writes about people she knows—her siblings, or her partner, for instance—the affectionate portraits don't tell us anything new or surprising. In one essay, Walker lambastes her critics for making her feel bad, comparing a review she received from another black female writer in the Village Voice to an obscene, threatening note she received in the mail. She writes about an essay that went unwritten because she was discouraged by "unhelpful" reviews; yet she is so vague about the nature of the criticism that one can't help thinking that what really bothered her was being criticized at all. It's not the only point at which she uses the collection as an opportunity to vent her personal grudges—against a writer who allegedly plagiarized a letter she wrote to Essence magazine that was never printed, and against the New York Times and other publications that haven't treated her with the respect she believes she deserves. Worse, much of her prose here is rambling, unclear, and choppy. One of these pieces contains a lengthy excerpt from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, which only serves to reinforce our disappointment in her nonfiction writing.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-45584-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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