PROZAC NATION

YOUNG AND DEPRESSED IN AMERICA

A memoir of a depressed, heavily medicated young woman who identifies with Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and other tragic figures—and fantasizes about being profiled as a tragic suicide in New York magazine. Born in 1967, Wurtzel grew up in New York City, the precocious only child of divorced parents. At six, she wrote her first book. At the age of 11, she carved up her legs with razor blades in the school bathroom and went to a therapist her parents couldn't afford. But stints at the psychiatrist and summer camp didn't cure Wurtzel of her depression. When she entered Harvard, she spent her days deep in despair or high on Ecstacy or cocaine. By the time she graduated, she was being treated with Prozac and lithium. This is all presented with such narcissistic pride that the following comment about herself is true of the book: ``I was so far gone that I didn't even come across as sad any longer. Just obnoxious.'' She wants to contextualize her experience to give it deeper meaning as some sort of a beacon for her generation. But Wurtzel insists on one-upmanship: She's ``a real sicko,'' while the other six million Americans on Prozac are ``all these happy-pill poppers.'' She wants it both ways: to be at once the Head Loony and a representative voice. But her nihilism offers nothing new (she wails about loneliness and death's inevitability). Her only generational trademark is a preternatural media sensibility. But even her TV- informed peers cringed when she threw a party celebrating her deflowering. By alternately belittling and belaboring her depression, Wurtzel loses her credibility: Either she's a brat who won't shape up or she needs the drugs. Ultimately, you don't care which. An excruciating portrait of, even cause for, depression. This most certainly is not an examination of a generation's collective psyche. (First serial to Vogue, Esquire, and Mouth2Mouth)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1994

ISBN: 0-395-68093-X

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1994

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NUTCRACKER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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