A sweet, gentle book that captures a man’s youth in all of its wonder.


A debut memoir that bursts with Southern flavor and charm.

Bonner recounts the lively antics of his rural Georgia childhood in the 1960s and ’70s in this pleasant book. In each chapter, he provides a brief slice of Southern life with all the trimmings; for example, in “The Importance of Biscuits,” he waxes nostalgic for this small but crucial food (“not just a side dish…a staple”) and recalls the care his mother took when preparing them. Three-year-old Bonner’s love for them was so strong, in fact, that he once bit into a doorknob, convinced that the white porcelain was actually a biscuit. He suffers another injury in “Keeping Me in Stitches,” which outlines an innocent family outing to the beach that ended with the author in the hospital. But this collection of memories is not all painful; as Bonner points out, “the simplest pleasures are surely the sweetest ones,” and he writes of the Christmas fun he and his siblings had with the boxes their presents came in and of the birth of his new baby cousin. Throughout, the author captures the slow, easy pace of Southern living, dwelling on the day-to-day activities of a young boy who’s encouraged to find adventure all around him. He also recalls less pleasant times, such as when his mother spanked him once at the grocery store for misbehaving, but these memories are always recounted in a context of love and trust. Overall, these brief anecdotes are candid, humorous and enjoyable. The author’s ability to see the bright side of any situation makes for a pleasant, undemanding read, and he recreates these stories of his siblings and extended family with loving detail, in straightforward, precise prose. Bonner shows a reverence for his youth that’s contagious; as he aptly puts it, he and his siblings “were poor kids living a rich life.”

A sweet, gentle book that captures a man’s youth in all of its wonder.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0985795009

Page Count: 138

Publisher: C.D. BONNER

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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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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