A thoughtful memoir that makes for engaging reading about cultural differences.

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CULTURE CLASH

EVOLUTION OF AN EXPAT

A debut memoir about a young man coping with an abrupt move between two very different cultures.

Long was born in the Philippines to a loving mother and a father who didn’t care to be in his life. He spent much of his childhood in the fishing village of Alumnos, raised by his grandmother Rufina Cabreros; his mother and American stepfather moved to California and saved money to bring him over. Long formed a deep bond with Rufina as the two eked out an existence in the poor but deeply communal village. When he finally arrived in Fontana, California, in 1975, at age 15, he struggled with being separated from his beloved grandmother. He also had trouble faking his way through public school while barely understanding English and trying to understand the deep differences between Filipino and American social norms. Long married his girlfriend after she became pregnant; after being expelled from high school for fighting, he enrolled in the U.S. Army to support his new family. The ensuing years were a roller coaster of highs and lows, Long writes, as the young couple dealt with financial issues and her increasingly severe depression and substance abuse. After the marriage finally collapsed, Long resolved to pursue an education and get ahead in the home equity loan business, which forced him to confront even more cultural differences. The author writes eloquently about how Filipino ideals shaped his youthful experience in America. For example, he tells of how his deeply traditional commitment to family drew out the collapse of his own marriage but also reminded him of the deep love between his grandparents. His memories of his childhood are particularly vivid; his descriptions of his small Filipino community, his growing awareness of the many traps of poverty, his grandmother’s die-hard commitment to him, and his volatile uncles will all stick in readers’ memories. The latter third of the book, describing Long’s life after his divorce, isn’t quite as compelling, however.

A thoughtful memoir that makes for engaging reading about cultural differences.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62137-796-2

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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