A touching but overflowing story about family, addiction and perseverance.

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NO GOOD DEED

A FATHER'S JOURNEY

Miller’s vast memoir about the legal and personal battles that followed his stepdaughter’s expulsion from school for drug use.

When Miller met and fell in love with his future wife, Caroline, he seemed to know what he was signing up for. He was childless; she had two children in tow. “You notice her, you like her, you love her,” he says. “The kids, unless they are genuine pains in the ass, kind of go along with the deal like bald tires on a custom sports car.” That tone—direct, if a bit rough around the edges—permeates the book. Despite his apparent steeliness, however, his life was thrown into chaos the day his stepdaughter Sarah was expelled from high school for allegedly taking LSD. Though Miller is typically frank about his own minor drug use in the past, as well as the need for Sarah to take responsibility for her actions, he could not, as a father and a school psychologist, stomach such a harsh punishment for a child—particularly one who struggled with ADHD, as Sarah did. Consequently, he and his wife entered into a protracted legal battle against the school that not only threatened their family’s stability but put in jeopardy his job as a school district employee. The engaging, real-life storyline will be of interest to stepfamilies or readers whose children have addiction issues. However, at over 600 pages, it may be too unwieldy to keep most readers’ attention. Miller leaves no detail or feeling unexamined, making for a repetitive and cumbersome reading experience. A good edit and perhaps a dampening of the sometimes over-the-top tone would go a long way toward tightening his arguments and delivering an emotional punch.

A touching but overflowing story about family, addiction and perseverance.

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615767918

Page Count: 626

Publisher: Jockers & Stack Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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