A familiar but affecting memoir about a search for God.

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RUNNING FROM GOD

MY JOURNEY TO SELF

A spiritually charged memoir recounts a woman’s struggle to find a relationship with God and a sense of self-worth.

As the youngest of three children, debut author Bodner grew up pining for her father’s approval. He was an emotionally aloof man, she writes, who was quick to dispense biting criticism but miserly with praise. As a result, the author suffered from a crippling lack of self-esteem, which made it difficult to form strong bonds with peers. Also, she says, her suppressed emotions led to a feeling of distance between her and God. Indeed, she asserts that the crux of her crisis was always spiritual: “My struggle with food, weight, and self-image was also intimately connected to my struggle with God. I did not yet have a real sense of a loving God to rely on.” The author’s life took a better turn when she met Bob Bodner, when she was 14 and he was 18; they married three years later, in 1950, and went on to have three children. He was a loving, encouraging man, she writes, who helped her discover untapped sources of strength and confidence. She became a founder of the League of Women Voters of Hamilton County, Indiana, and the president of the local parent-teacher organization and got a pilot’s license. After Bob died in 1985, she responded to her grief by turning to Judaism, finding a spiritual mentor (author Louise Dunn, who contributes a foreword), and taking transformative trips to Israel, Egypt, and India. Throughout this memoir Bodner writes in plain, unadorned prose—a style that matches the simple humility of her narrative. Despite her travails, her tone is relentlessly positive throughout—even regarding her father, who receives a sometimes-sympathetic treatment; specifically, she shows how his softer side showed in his love of nature. The author admirably draws on emotional reserves to forgive those who wronged her, and this seems to have been the catalyst for her own emancipation from self-doubt. Overall, although the memoir doesn’t cover unfamiliar ground or issue novel counsel, it’s still a courageously candid account of the author’s triumphs and tragedies.

A familiar but affecting memoir about a search for God.

Pub Date: July 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4575-5535-0

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2017

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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