While the ending feels rushed, this lively account of youth culture adroitly evokes its time.


A gay teen from a small Oregon town falls in love with dance and a self-destructive new-wave underground in this debut coming-of-age memoir set in the radical 1980s Portland arts scene.

Knapp was in seventh grade when his queerness and nonconformity transformed him from an “outgoing, popular, naive little limpet” into a constant target of bullies and jocks. Embracing his status, he found a home among “the thespians, the smokers, punks, mods, the Wave-os” and in the local ballet studio, where he could express his emerging self. His parents, a kindergarten teacher and a college music professor in the town of Corvallis, Oregon, were well-meaning people who had little idea of how to deal with their maverick son except to be carefully willing to let him distance himself from them. Recognizing this offer of freedom as a form of rejection, the author explored his emerging sexuality and his art, concealing his self-consciousness with “eyeliner and a lotta what-have-yous.” He eventually abandoned the security of his family home and ran to Portland, where he became part of the desperate and thrilling community of the “lost, those who’d evicted hope.” High on a cocktail of artistic camaraderie, sexual discovery, the “tangible magic” of dance, and the dangers of the emerging AIDS epidemic and homophobic violence, he turned experience into movement. Knapp’s prose is energetic, defiant, and roguishly cadenced, as he evokes the youthful state of being “teenager know-it-all strong,” driven by cacoethes, the urge toward the inadvisable. He is especially successful in conveying his transcendent love of the freedom of dance and his rebellion against the snooty strictures of conventional ballet’s efforts to turn him into a “Ken doll forklift.” The short, cacophonous narrative is satisfyingly taut up to the final pages, where it ends with a jarring abruptness just as it takes a dark turn into sexual violence.

While the ending feels rushed, this lively account of youth culture adroitly evokes its time.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68740-400-8

Page Count: 69

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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



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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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