Quirky and evocative sketches that capture the human spirit and the passing of a simpler and more genteel era. Drawing upon the people and places around her, White (Mama Makes Up Her Mind, not reviewed), a first-grade teacher and NPR commentator, creates a picture of American life, from portraits of family members to landscapes as diverse as northern Vermont and the Florida Everglades. Set primarily in the South, these mostly brief essays explore the passage of time and our attitudes and beliefs about the past. The voice is that of the native child, comfortable with the pace and aware of the region's history and lifestyle. In vignettes populated by eccentric characters and recounting zany situations, the reader encounters a former Rose Queen who daily relives her high school graduation while picking roses from municipal parks; a newly rich cousin intent on reuniting for his new mansion a set of Chippendale chairs that has been spread out among many family members; and an old southern woman who allows her once magnificent home to deteriorate around her and the house's eventual restoration to its former glory. These stories are written with respect and affection, and White never falls into the trap of turning her unusual characters into caricatures. The title sketch, the last in the book, is one of the more self-consciously philosophical in the collection, and seems to belong to another group of stories, until it becomes clear that herein lies the point of the book: Life is just a one-night stay in a modest motel, but the ice is free, a breeze ripples the water of the pool, and peaceful dreams are dreamt there. Focusing on the brevity of life, White reminds her readers that every moment has its unique value.

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-201-62670-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1995

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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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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