A thoughtful recollection whose tone is perhaps more personal than universal.

AT DEATH DO US PART

A GRIEVING WIDOWER ATTAINS HEALING AFTER THE LOSS OF HIS WIFE TO CANCER

Filmmaker Marx, best known as the co-writer and co-producer of the 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, recounts his grief after his wife died, as well as his lifelong emotional struggles.

When the author was 9 years old, his father suddenly died. It was a traumatic encounter with mortality that would haunt Marx for the rest of his life. He was plagued by thoughts of suicide; his teenage years were marked by rebellion, and at the age of 16, he left home to live communally with friends. He married in 2003, when he was 47 years old, and was forced to finally make his peace with the concept of death when his wife died in 2016 after a protracted struggle with cancer. The author found no solace in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition in which he was raised (which he considered “thoroughly inadequate superstition”) but he also studied and practiced Buddhism for much of his life. Debut author Marx’s eventful story seems tailor-made for a philosophically captivating memoir; his struggle with his inner demons supplies plenty of fodder for introspection, which he tackles with subtlety and candor. The end result is more of a meditative essay than a linear autobiography. However, it’s still a highly personal remembrance, dotted with excerpts from intimate correspondence, so it may appeal most to those who already know Marx well; those who don’t may have some difficulty relating to it. It is admirably forthcoming, however; he freely discusses his own private and professional foibles, as well as details of his relationship with his wife, including their sexual problems, with unreserved honesty. He also offers an unflinching account of her last days and his anguish in the aftermath of her death. Lost without his spouse, Marx turned to dissolute living before fully exploring the possibility of spiritual healing, and he insightfully and humorously describes his lack of success: “I failed at degeneracy. I couldn’t keep up the pace.” (Black-and-white and color photos included.)

A thoughtful recollection whose tone is perhaps more personal than universal.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9984062-4-4

Page Count: 237

Publisher: Warrior Films

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2018

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

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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