The same old story, written by someone who should know better.


Never has the worldview of Golf Digest columnist Jenkins (Slim and None, 2005, etc.) been pettier than in this cliché-ridden, boorish and brief exploration of the newly sexualized world of the LPGA tour.

Sports Magazine writer Jack Brannon, 47, hits every 1970s-era formula branch on his way down. Twice-divorced with a penchant for four-olive martinis, Brannon sleeps with the well-worn PR nymphs on the circuit and picks restaurants Sinatra frequented. Weary of a men’s game that focuses only on the legendary player he dubs “Black Jesus,” Jack turns his attentions to the “Lolitas”: the sexy and talented younger women gaining ground on the women’s circuit in tournaments like the Firm Chick Classic. He zeroes in on a rising star, an ingénue shooter with model looks named Ginger Clayton, the titular “Franchise Babe” whose numerous gifts promise big-ticket endorsement deals (of Ginger the narrator says: “…it was a good guess she could kick a hole in the ceiling of a motel room if she was on her back doing what it looked like she could do best”). After Ginger is nearly poisoned by a rival and subsequently brained on the links on her way to the toilet—and Jack makes a pitiful but successful pass at her hot-to-trot mother, Thurlene—he starts investigating who might have it out for the feisty wunderkind. Jenkins makes some salient, well-worn points about the commercialization of sports and the exploitation of young athletes. Unfortunately, they’re punctuated by sexist remarks, as well as juvenile taunts aimed indiscriminately at lesbians, Hollywood liberals, the French and others. The golf, meanwhile, is just as exciting as it is on television.

The same old story, written by someone who should know better.

Pub Date: June 3, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-385-51910-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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