A mixed bag, then, of some interest to armchair travelers, if not to Weird Girls everywhere.

YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

A YEAR ON THE FRINGES OF A SHRINKING WORLD

Travels in search of the merely exotic.

Debut author Forman, well known to readers of Seventeen, takes a teenager’s delight in casting herself as an outcast, a “Weird Girl” whose journeys tend to involve adoption by immigrant florists or drag queens or street performers, and who has thus seen several countries from perspectives generally denied the casual tourist. When she and her husband decide to spend a year wandering from one remote outpost to another in the wake of 9/11, the two—accompanied, sad to say, by big-wheeled suitcases to which they’d given names—naturally drift into some unusual circles. In Tonga, for instance (which Forman inaccurately describes as “rarely visited by tourists,” even though in the year of her visit there was one tourist for every three natives), she spends time among “fakaleiti, a strange third gender of half-men, half-women” who apparently fit right into Tongan society until the arrival of “American-style religious fundamentalism.” Presto: thanks to the Mormons, Tongans now know that they’re out of touch with the civilized world. Just so, in Beijing a doctor collars her into correcting an English phrasebook he’s been writing, even though he doesn’t know much English (sample phrase: “Is this the file you desired?” “Not that file, you retard”); the doctor’s lack of sophistication, Forman writes, will cost him, for whereas by her account Chinese don’t much care about the niceties of grammar, they do care about what it means to be an American, just as Tanzanian teenagers have made a near-Derridaean study of the collected works of Vanilla Ice. Forman writes breezily and pleasantly, though some of her set pieces go on too long and run out of steam. Her book, too, could have benefited from a more closely followed overarching theme of the kind that Franklin Foer worked so effectively in his globalism-dissecting How Soccer Explains the World (2004), which makes many of the same points.

A mixed bag, then, of some interest to armchair travelers, if not to Weird Girls everywhere.

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-59486-037-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Rodale

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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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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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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