A unique life well-lived, but the telling isn’t quite ready for prime time.




Vienna-born Hausmann has loved, lost and traveled—and she describes 41 short lessons she’s learned along the way.

Composed of 10 primary sections (“Essential Elements,” “Affairs, Sex and Love,” “Professional Life,” etc.), each part of this memoir includes four short anecdotes with the author’s analyses of the experiences and occasional, special “relearnings,” denoted by yellow sticky note graphics. A first, stand-alone segment opens with the tragic loss of her husband, which left Hausmann with two children and unsure of how she “would and could be a mom and a dad at the same time…living in that vast void which had just opened up.” But rising to a challenge is clearly one of Hausmann’s many strengths, and she rallied to support her family. She worked (first in Europe, then in America) in film, publishing, transportation, construction and education. Determination, a sense of adventure and old-fashioned grit were evident early on; she traveled through Austria and Moscow by bus when she was in her teens and across the Trans-Siberian Railway in her 20s. Hausmann is open to learning and credits many sources—talk show host Charlie Rose, Oprah’s Master Class and the Kama Sutra (rejected due to balance issues; “I read the Cosmopolitan to find better information,” she notes) have all informed and guided her. Hausmann acknowledges English is her second language, and readers may find some awkward word choices distract from the charm of her memoir. Her description of “flying drivers’ exchanges,” with one bus driver slipping behind the other as they cross Russia at 60 miles per hour, is just one of many brow-raising events that would have benefitted from stronger editing. But positive messages (“Just Smile!”), appreciation for others, environmental awareness and gratitude (the Red Cross receives special acknowledgment and a portion of book sales) are all part of Hausmann’s credo, and her first-person account is honest and interesting.

A unique life well-lived, but the telling isn’t quite ready for prime time.

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0991272402

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Educ Easy Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2014

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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