An odd but often satisfying story, told in an unusual voice.

Who Broke The Girl?

A lifetime of wandering gradually leads a woman to greater happiness, as revealed in this debut memoir.

Costantino, the daughter of immigrants, didn’t have a happy childhood. Tensions ran high at home, and “the girl” (as the author refers to herself throughout) grew from a shy, anxious child into a highly sensitive adult. Despite the author’s professional accomplishments, her inability to “escape the fear of being just one” led her to move to a big city. A romance with a “broken boy” turned sour and ultimately abusive. Recognizing the need for a major change, she fled to her parents’ home country, then to another new city, where she threw herself into her work. After burning out in her job, she quit to go globe-trotting, and then returned to “the city with all the right kind of energy for her.” But despite Costantino’s searching, nothing filled the hole in her soul, and bad relationships with both lovers and friends were a continual source of stress and sadness. She attempted to distract herself from her personal struggles by giving her all to her career, working herself to the bone for ungrateful employers. The author relates all these events in the most general terms. Characters are typically referred to as “girl,” “boy,” or “friend” and the cities and countries she visits and resides in are vaguely described but never named, both of which give the book a distant, fairy-tale quality. Even her career, which dominates her life, is never explicitly identified, although she appears to work in a high-pressure field, such as media or advertising. This literary technique effectively keeps the focus on her emotional state. However, it’s also confusing at times, as it’s often nearly impossible to tell people apart; the style would have been better suited to an essay than a book-length memoir. Yet Costantino’s emotional honesty is refreshing, and her slow, awkward journey toward greater happiness reflects that life’s problems are rarely solved in an instant.

An odd but often satisfying story, told in an unusual voice. 

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-48163-9

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Waking Works Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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