DIFFERENT LOVING

AN EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD OF SEXUAL DOMINANCE AND SUBMISSION

Few books come with warning labels, but this one does: ``Readers should not attempt any of the activities described in these pages.'' Why not? Because the outrÇ sexual practices described by the Brames (she: a former therapist; he: a former archaeologist) and Jacobs (a freelance writer) in this bold report carry psychological and, often, physical risks—though that hasn't stopped the two-hundred-odd practitioners whom the authors interviewed, nor the millions who share their passion for sexual dominance and submission (D&S). All D&S, the authors explain, involves a ``power exchange'' in which one partner ``tops,'' or dominates, and the other ``bottoms,'' or submits—whether through bondage, wrestling, whipping, body-piercing, etc. After running through the history of D&S scholarship—with expected nods at Krafft-Ebbing and Havelock Ellis—the Brames and Jacob present an overview of the practices themselves, which range from infantilism (the bottom often wears a diaper and sucks on a bottle) and depersonalization (the bottom may act like an object, perhaps a footstool, or an animal, most often a pony) to spanking, cross-dressing, foot fetishes, enemas, branding, and so on. The authors discuss the methods, psychological bases, and historical backgrounds of the practices, each of which is illuminated by interviews with practitioners who speak with great seriousness (``Deliberate, ritualized infliction of what we call pain can change the relationship of the body and that which lives in the body,'' says Fakir Musafar, who likes to dangle from trees by way of ``fleshhooks''). And as for the risks, nearly all of these sexual outlaws identify with the ``Scene'' (the vast D&S underground that's highly self-aware: Two thousand infantilists, for example, belong to a ``Diaper Pail Fraternity'') and with its credo of ``Safe, Sane, and Consensual.'' The definitive guide to the sexual styles of those who walk on the wild side.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-40873-8

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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