Impressively down-to-earth and upbeat, this memoir recounts making the most of disappointments.



A debut autobiography commemorates a four-decade marriage that ended in divorce but opened the way for a new relationship.

Raised in 1950s Quebec, Bruce had romantic notions about marriage. At McGill University, she went on a blind date with Peter Scott, whom she would marry in 1968, at age 22. As sexually liberated as the ’60s are reputed to be, Bruce was sheltered and didn’t know what to expect. “Having married at such tender ages, we basically grew up together,” she explains. Within three years, they had two children. The family moved from Canada to Sydney, Australia, for Peter’s work. Bruce undertook graduate studies in counseling and intermittently served as a research assistant or math and physics teacher. Peter’s drinking was a persistent, low-lying worry, eventually landing him in rehab. However, it hit her with the force of an earthquake when Bruce saw her husband with another woman in 2009. This was Serena, an Alcoholics Anonymous friend, and despite marriage counseling, he left to be with her. At the time of their separation, the couple had been married 41 years. While earlier sections seem like mere rundowns of facts, the book comes alive at this point, as Bruce explores her loneliness and midlife re-creation. “I felt like a toddler, learning to walk and figuring out my identity,” she writes. She captures her situation with insightful details that might not occur to outsiders, like the challenge of cooking for one. Her adventures in online dating become repetitive, but before long she met Chris, who proposed on a trip to Arizona in 2013, exactly three years after she signed her separation agreement. Rather than the expected bitterness or gloating (when Peter split from Serena after a few years), Bruce expresses gratitude for her ex-husband’s actions because she has now found “the love of my life and—even more importantly—myself, my own strength.” But she is realistic about life’s imperfections as well as her own and her new partner’s shortcomings.

Impressively down-to-earth and upbeat, this memoir recounts making the most of disappointments.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5255-1288-9

Page Count: 152

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2017

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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