Poet Chambers’ debut memoir is a harrowing account of a two-year trial with an obsessed, predatory stalker.
It was at Christmastime in Brooklyn when the eccentric, divorced author met Rachelle Richards, a manic, manipulative Australian New-Age publicist on a journalist visa, who promised to get the author discovered. Both outspoken and headstrong, Chambers and Rachelle initially locked horns, and Chambers soon realized that the publicist was mentally unstable. He tried to placate her, which only triggered what he characterizes as her extremely violent psychopathic temperament. She shared revelations about a horrifically abusive childhood, which explained her instability, yet the author dangerously ignored his better judgment and the numerous behavioral red flags and compassionately attempted to find common ground with his “poetic soul mate” (Richards’ characterization). Whether mildly enamored or simply curious about her international connections and ability to get his poetry into print, Chambers freely admits to having recognized and disregarded Richards’ potential volatility after she boasted to him about “the power to make the whole world love you or I can destroy you in a matter of seconds.” Richards’ obsessive pursuit of the author and his increasingly panicked avoidance of her soon expands to nightmarish proportions à la Fatal Attraction. By the time Chambers realized the full extent of Richards’ psychopathic delusions, it was far too late. She embarked on the relentless, pathological victimization of the author. She harassed him at his home, impersonated his fiancee and threatened his life. A restraining order had no effect. Straightforward and honest from beginning to end, the author has written a compulsively readable memoir. And the conclusion offers no easy resolution; while Richards’ grim persecution of Chambers ends abruptly, the entire ordeal proved unshakable and haunting.
Alarming and unsettling; readers should brace themselves for a riveting chronicle of extreme psychopathic illness—and lock their doors.
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)