Those with a family history of ADHD should especially enjoy these wry autobiographical writings.

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A CHICKEN IN THE WIND AND HOW HE GREW

STORIES FROM AN ADHD DAD

Collected magazine columns convey the everyday familial and professional struggles of a man with ADHD.

All but one of these pieces first appeared in ADDitude Magazine over the course of eight years. South (Aloha Island, 2012) has worked as a television writer and producer in Hollywood and as an off-Broadway playwright. He perceives that ADHD turns his life into a roller coaster of successes and failures. Here’s how he describes his between-jobs anxiety: “Self-loathing sharks swam in and tore everything left all to pieces.” When he had a breakdown at age 49, a psychologist told him that, given his various behavioral and cognitive issues, “it’s surprising that you’re able to function at all.” On a daily basis, he gets distracted and loses concentration or becomes frustrated at his forgetfulness. For years, he self-medicated with alcohol, and two previous marriages ended in divorce. All the same, he feels that the invisibility of his disability causes people to take it less seriously: South tells how a woman in his writing group accused him of being too “normal” and exaggerating his issues. In fact, he’s just developed coping strategies, such as organizing his thoughts and rehearsing what he’s going to say. The author’s two children also have ADHD, and some of the most poignant essays express his feelings for them. In “Sixteen,” he marvels at how his daughter, Coco, has grown up, while in “Piece of My Heart,” he puts his son’s poor decisions into perspective by remembering a low point in 1968 when, as a college dropout into drugs, he was lucky to have his parents shelve everything to come check up on him. Pieces on his elderly father’s brain injury and time in a rehab center reinforce the intergenerational nature of the book. South’s father was also a problem drinker, and the author worries that his son is headed the same way. These essays are well-structured and congenial, re-creating dialogue and everyday family life in a relatable manner.

Those with a family history of ADHD should especially enjoy these wry autobiographical writings.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9994878-0-8

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Rattlesnake Publishing Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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