A tone of humility and a great concern for others mark this well-paced work about an individual’s most important...




A debut author delivers a detailed account of her mysterious illness.

As a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer sent to a small village in northern Zambia in 1994, Kephart wanted more than anything to help. She learned to speak Bemba, lived in the small hut of a native family, and helped to dig a communal latrine. Hailing from Southern California, she had never been exposed to poverty and disease at such a high level; the bell of the local church tolled almost daily for someone’s death. She had also not been exposed to malaria. Medevacked to Lusaka, the capital, she receives that ominous diagnosis. “I understood then that I would forever carry with me my own personalized African souvenir,” she writes. Finding her dreams dashed and enduring a bout of temporary deafness and blindness, she wished for death as the symptoms worsened into uncontrollable muscle spasms. “What a colossal understatement,” she says of the Peace Corps training booklet, A Few Minor Adjustments, from which she takes the title of her memoir. Everything in her life had changed. But this is only the beginning of a rich and complicated story, told on each page with clear dialogue and memorable anecdotes. Even after returning to the U.S., fatigue and intense pain nearly stop the normal patterns of a young life—work, relationships, hope for the future. She completes a master’s degree during this time, but a glimpse into her journal, excerpted occasionally in the book, reveals her suffering: “I feel trapped in a life, a mind, a vision of confusion and isolation. My heart is drenched with black.” Once an active athlete, she struggled with staying comfortable when standing. Fifteen years of specialists (she names them Dr. Agreeable, Dr. Arrogant, Dr. Blank-Stare, Dr. Cookie-Cutter, Dr. Curt, Dr. Zoologically Inclined, etc.) and different treatment plans follow. Long after her time in Africa, the final chapters chart a surprising new diagnosis. Ultimately, this memoir chronicling her persistence should inspire readers and engender sympathy.

A tone of humility and a great concern for others mark this well-paced work about an individual’s most important asset—health.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947127-00-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bazi Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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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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