Journalist Benedek returns to the site of her 1992 The Wind Won't Know Me to tell the story of Ella Bedonie, a Navajo woman. Bedonie, a 43-year-old schoolteacher, wife, and mother of three, speaks frankly of her life. She tells of growing up in poverty on the Navajo reservation in Arizona; the traumatic experience of BIA-run boarding school, where students were punished for acting in any way Indian (Bedonie's mouth was washed out with soap by an Indian dorm aide for speaking Navajo); her arranged marriage to Dennis Bedonie after her first husband was killed in Vietnam; her battle with breast cancer. Yet despite her openness, Bedonie remains enigmatic. Why does she tender her resignation to the Gap preschool the day on which she is supposed to begin work? Why, when she is convinced that her cancer and her son's joining a gang were punishment for living off the reservation, does she again move away with her husband and impressionable teenage daughter? But Bedonie's odd behavior is the least problematic aspect of this book. Far worse is Benedek's inability to find a coherent presentationeither chronological or thematicand her simplistic analysis, which boils down to: Anglos and Indians are different, but Indians can't avoid Anglo culture. She also allows the characters to speak for themselves, which leads to such poetic chapter titles as ``This Is Where I Am Tucked into the Land,'' but Benedek lets her characters speak too much, lending the book the air of an oral historyand an unedited one, at that. Dry and disappointing. (8 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-42143-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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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

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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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