An overcrowded but mostly compelling tale of a 16th-century Floridian princess.

ULEYLI

THE PRINCESS & PIRATE (A JUNIOR GRAPHIC NOVEL): BASED ON THE TRUE STORY OF FLORIDA'S POCAHONTAS

A Native princess in Florida fulfills her destiny in debut author Daniels’ first graphic novel in a series.

Teenage Uleyli spends her time crafting items, such as a spider medallion that she’s able to trade to a traveling peddler. However, her parents wish that she, as their eldest daughter, would concentrate more on fulfilling her duties as princess of the village. When Uleyli is 15, Mocoso, the chief of another, nearby village—to which her father is forced to pay tribute—demands that the girl be given to him as a wife. Uleyli’s father agrees to this, but negotiates that the wedding not occur for a year. The princess, distraught, seeks advice from the village medicine woman, who likens her to a fly caught in a spider’s web: “The more you struggle against it, the more stuck you will become. But if you stop struggling and center yourself you will see that you are not the fly but are the spider sitting in the center.” Uleyli refuses to accept this notion; instead, she formulates a plan that revolves around a Spanish prisoner, Juan Ortiz, who was recently brought to the village. Her father wants to execute the young man as revenge for a Spanish raid that killed Uleyli’s grandmother, but the princess convinces him to spare Juan’s life. If she can help Juan escape captivity, she thinks, then maybe he’ll take her with him. Daniels tells his story in simple, easy-to-follow language, and the full-color illustrations by debut artist Mitra are lively and engaging. The story is based on a legendary real-life encounter between a Native woman and a Spanish sailor, which is why the book claims, somewhat reductively, to be about “Florida’s Pocahontas.” The main flaw of the book, however, is its brevity: Daniels stuffs a fairly complex, multievent plot into just 30 pages. Uleyli’s goals, and the threats to her village, change a number of times throughout the story, and, as a result, the conclusion doesn’t feel fully satisfying. Further graphic novels in the series are planned.

An overcrowded but mostly compelling tale of a 16th-century Floridian princess.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9774189-4-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Rebourne Communications

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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