A self-aware but repetitious memoir.

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A PLACE CALLED GRACE

In this memoir, a New Yorker strives to make a lasting emotional connection with someone, despite her insecurities.

Debut author Rand, a licensed master of social work, writes that she became unmoored by her parents’ divorce when she was just 6 years old. Rand’s father became estranged from the family, and her mother assumed a role as the cynosure of her life—so much so that Rand felt “disparag[ed]” when her mother remarried. Echoes of these formative, tenuous connections seem to manifest in the author’s early romantic relationships. When people didn’t make her the “center of their universe,” she would try to cut ties; she once did so by taking a hiking trip in the Dolomites. However, during this trip, she met an urbane, Italian man, and this relationship led her to move to Italy to start a new life. It’s in that country that the bulk of the memoir unfolds. There, Rand’s “existential loneliness” only temporarily relented when she expanded her circle of friends, landed acting gigs, or had the attention of a man. After three years, Rand returned home to New York City, at which point the story veers sharply from a fish-out-of-water journey to a brief exploration of grief and self-improvement. The author writes that she decided to go back to school and focus on herself, but her efforts were delayed when she was diagnosed with a neurological disorder and then suffered the deaths of loved ones. During her grief, she unexpectedly reconnected with a family member, Grace, which turned out to be her saving grace—the only person who made her feel at home in the world. Rand writes in a matter-of-fact style throughout the memoir, which makes for a smooth read. That said, this straightforwardness can be repetitive at times; for example, she calls herself “needy” over and over again, regarding various facets of her life. However, in a rare deadpan moment, she also writes that she went on her hiking trip to “become the kind of independent woman that men wanted.” Overall, though, less telling and more showing might have resulted in a more nuanced story.

A self-aware but repetitious memoir.

Pub Date: July 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64184-027-9

Page Count: 194

Publisher: Della Vita Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2018

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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