A unique but hurried account of a difficult relationship.

RAGGED LOVE

Fedotowsky’s debut combines experimental passages and more straightforward memoir fodder in a tribute to her late husband.

The book’s opening line is almost Joycean in its mixture of stream-of-consciousness and Gaelic dialect: “Ah daddy ah beautiful critter ya cannae sleep.” Fedotowsky’s father, an engineer, was dying at age 55. Even as a bereaved teenager, she found humor at his funeral, thinking a line of family members resembled “a row of cartoon monkeys sitting in the bottom of an aquarium.” Such original language particularly enlivens the first two chapters, which edge close to poetry with short, stanzalike paragraphs and impressionistic rather than explanatory details. From the third chapter onward, the book becomes more of a standard memoir, as Fedotowsky chronicles the family’s move to New York and her abortive stint at Boston University. Even in the traditionally chronological sections, however, her variable approach includes direct address (“Are you surprised to learn, dear reader…”) and self-deprecation—equating her loss of virginity with the novelty of sampling instant mashed potatoes for the first time. Soon, Fedotowsky met “Andre the dreamboat,” a Latvian under family pressure to succeed in America. She left her hippie friends behind to join Andre in Quebec, where brutal winters cut them off from the social revolutions of the 1960s. Living in a “rural goddamn wilderness” also strained their relationship, especially when Andre took up drinking after a motorcycle accident. Still, the ties of “ragged love” kept Fedotowsky with Andre; they married in 1970 and moved to California. Andre’s uneven professional life and declining health—kidney failure exacerbated by dementia—make for a strangely hurried portion of the narrative. Andre’s death, at age 63, repeats the memoir’s beginning: “Ah beautiful critter ya cannae sleep.” The last few pages, though, are a particularly rushed roll call of dead family and friends. The Fedotowskys’ tumultuous marriage could surely fill a book twice this length. Although brevity magnifies her passion, the sense of haste is increased by the book’s editing: Punctuation is often lacking, and little attention has been paid to font or page layout.

A unique but hurried account of a difficult relationship.

Pub Date: July 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1491053331

Page Count: 76

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

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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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IN MY PLACE

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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