An American woman tells the story of living, loving, working, and raising children in Africa for more than 20 years in this memoir.
Onyemelukwe (Love on the Road 2013, 2013) writes about the spell that the country of Nigeria cast on her, and of the joys and travails of her life among its people, in a book that features “sights, sounds, and smells unlike any I would ever see in the United States.” As an early Peace Corps volunteer, she arrived in Lagos in 1962. She was 21 years old, a teacher of German, and possessed a voracious appetite for experience. Nigeria, meanwhile, had only declared its independence from Britain two years before. In short order, the author met the man she would marry; later, she bore him the first of three children (much to the delight of those in his home village of Nanka)and grew increasingly comfortable among the country’s upper crust. She hired a household staff and settled down in a land where “Banana trees had leaves as big as umbrellas.” Within a few years, she and her Igbo husband moved to Eastern Nigeria to escape the country’s chaos of hysteria against the Igbo people. But the eastern part of the country was also undergoing change: it briefly rebelled to become the Republic of Biafra. The resulting conflict felt like “a pretend war” to the author—at least before hostile planes filled the sky and bombs fell near her temporary home. In the midst of this chaos, Onyemelukwe confronted the challenge of raising her children in multiple societies. The author is an experienced speaker on topics related to Nigerian culture, and so she proves a dab hand at it here, providing just enough detail to answer readers’ questions but not so much that they feel overwhelmed. Her prose is sturdy and workmanlike, and the pace of her book is stately—never rushing forward during scenes of crisis nor lollygagging when little is afoot. Overall, she’s an excellent steward of her past emotions, and readers will wish they were there at the Kakadu nightclub in Lagos, where she “danced with abandon to the sensual music,” or at a traditional Mmos masquerade, where she trembled at the spectacle.
An accomplished story of life overseas by a woman of the world.
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").
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)