A humble and humbling saga of spirituality and service.

Keeping Kyrie

A TRUE STORY OF FAITH, FAMILY, AND FOSTER CARE

In this debut memoir, a Mormon convert discusses being a foster parent to dozens of children and ultimately adopting six with special needs. 

Christensen begins her narrative by recounting the 2015 emergency helicoptering of her foster baby Kyrie from their home state of Oklahoma to a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that was better equipped to handle the infant’s challenging health care needs; the child was born with Pierre Robin syndrome, a disorder that causes facial and airway abnormalities. The author then proceeds to comment on other key milestones of her life, particularly during five years in which she converted to the Mormon faith, decided to get cochlear implants, battled ovarian cancer, dealt with her parents’ deaths, got married, and committed to foster parenting. Christensen and her husband, Nathan, fostered some 70 children during this period and ending up adopting six with special needs, including Kyrie. Christensen focuses on the baby’s grueling, touch-and-go surgeries (during which the author believed a chaplain’s soft humming helped keep the child alive), her own multiple miscarriages, her shock over her mother’s death in a car accident, and many custody hearings and adoption processes. She concludes the book with her joy over having a family of six children and the fact that their adoptions were both sanctioned by the secular court and celebrated in the ceremonies of her beloved Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The author has crafted a powerful memoir that skillfully unspools its dramatic anecdotes from Kyrie’s airlift onward, effectively showcasing Christensen’s awe-inspiring commitment to demonstrating her faith—most significantly, through her parenting. Her use of flashback and flash-forward techniques makes the chronology of her life unclear at times, though, and the account of her troubled early adulthood before her spiritual rebirth is underdeveloped. Still, she ultimately engages readers with her musing narrative, which is admirably infused with sympathy for the struggling, often drug-addicted parents who gave up their children for adoption.

A humble and humbling saga of spirituality and service.

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9977588-0-1

Page Count: 312

Publisher: HWC Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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