A debut memoir chronicles one family’s experiences with an autistic child.
The author makes her goals clear at the outset. Rasmussen wants to help her sons understand how their childhoods may have been shaped by their brother Steven’s autism. She aims to provide comfort to parents of autistic children, assuring them that they are not alone. The author also promotes an overall understanding and acceptance surrounding autism. The book moves chronologically through Steven’s early, middle, and adult years. His early tantrums and other challenging and often dangerous behaviors, such as scaling high fences, made for a sometimes-excruciating experience that tried his parents’ marriage and took attention away from his older brother. His diagnosis of autism at age 3 led to a treatment center that fostered some improvements and allowed for a saner family life, but the author describes ongoing obstacles that required tremendous vigilance and persistence as Steven grew. These included periodic disappearances—Steven would depart to seek swimming pools or elevators, two fascinations that continued in his adulthood. Transitions from routine, whether big or small, could wreak havoc on his ability to function. Teenage years brought sexual urges, but Steven was unable to manage them appropriately without repeated instruction. As an adult, he has lived in several group homes and held many jobs—the system is such that frequent adjustments have been required. The organization and tone of this highly personal book facilitate insight into what autism is like, its deep effect on families, and the countless practical hurdles that must be addressed when advocating for the affected child (and later, the adult with this condition). While the never-ending challenges are discussed candidly, Rasmussen nevertheless succeeds in providing practical observations and transmitting a genuine message of hope. She deftly describes the joy of Steven’s hard-won successes and the evolution of many positive qualities within her circle. The book’s family photographs and a section in which Steven’s father and brothers contribute their perspectives add an intimate feel to the memoir.
A frank and engaging read that explores autism and its long-ranging effects on a family.
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)
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").