An unflinching account that boldly asserts the possibility of recovery.

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THE TIGER IN THE YARD

In prose, poetry, and paintings, Weber tells of an abuse-filled past and a journey toward healing.

The author writes that between the ages of 5 and 10 she was molested by her father, but she dates her PTSD to earlier in her life. Corporal punishment was standard in her family, she says, and she remembers having her hand slammed in a door when she was 3. From that point on, she struggled with sleepwalking and nightmares. She also says that she was sexually assaulted by a male gynecologist in college and that her first husband was verbally abusive. Later, as a teacher in California, she found that she was sensitive to evidence of bullying and domestic violence: “My own abuse experience causes me to be hypervigilant when it comes to the safety of children,” she notes. She was also quick to observe that her father-in-law was a victim of elder abuse. She goes on to recount acts of extreme bravery, such as getting into a driverless, moving car and stopping it, and confronting a man who was dangerously target-shooting at a campground. She received support from friends’ parents and a youth group when she was younger, and these accounts help to lighten the book’s tone at times; overall, though, readers will find much of the subject matter to be harrowing. That said, Weber does work to balance out the more disturbing material by discussing her therapeutic activities, such as painting, playing the piano, hiking, and writing poetry. She also discusses how remarriage, a move to Alaska, and learning to interpret her dreams have helped her. In addition, the book includes 23 of the author’s colorful paintings and drawings, which recall the work of Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dalí in their depictions of symbolic animals and shapes. The 18 poems in the book, meanwhile, share dark fragments of memory: “My soul hides within the ashes / No one knows I’m here / No one cares / I am safe.” This variety of formats makes this book more compelling than many other memoirs of abuse.

An unflinching account that boldly asserts the possibility of recovery.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68433-187-1

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2018

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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