A succinct and sometimes-engaging, if occasionally cloudy, account of a long life.

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A debut portrait of a Chinese American woman from Hawaii, compiled from interviews by her son.

Wong presents the story of his mother, Katherine “Katy” C. Wong (1928-2014), in her own words, drawing from conversations that he, her eldest child, conducted in the latter part of her life between 2005 and 2009. She was born in Honolulu, where she worked at her family’s laundry business before graduating high school in 1946. Two years later, she married. She was soon with child, although later, after having multiple children, her doctor advised her husband to refrain from getting her pregnant “all the time,” she said. In 1960, the young family settled in Hayward, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. There, Katy worked various jobs, including at a Jack LaLanne Hi-Protein bar factory. Later in life, she professed a fondness for gambling (“I play blackjack. I’m good at it”) and she enjoyed giving protein bars away to people when traveling. Along with Katy’s own words, the book also features an array of color and black-and-white images from her life, depicting such things as the first home that she and her husband purchased and travel documents from a trip to China. At fewer than 70 pages in length, including pictures, the memoir moves along very quickly. However, some of her memories lack explanation and detail, perhaps due, in part, to the effects of a stroke, as the editor points out in a preface. She says at one point, for example, that her deceased husband and daughter “can play Japanese cards,” although what this refers to is unclear; she also doesn’t talk in detail about what it was like to work in a Jack LaLanne factory, or what her first impressions of California were. Still, Katy’s statements can carry plenty of emotional weight at times: “I feel sorry that the doctor told him you don’t get Katy upset because she is already downhill.”

A succinct and sometimes-engaging, if occasionally cloudy, account of a long life.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949723-53-3

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Bookwhip Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2020



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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