SOMEBODY TO LOVE?

A ROCK-AND-ROLL MEMOIR

Jefferson Airplane singer Slick delivers a bouncy, somewhat hectoring account of her 25-year career. Raised by comfortable WASPs in Palo Alto, Calif., Slick married young and moved to San Francisco, where she and her husband saw an early incarnation of the Jefferson Airplane perform in 1965 and figured that starting their own band, the Great Society, would be more fun than their boring day jobs. Slick soon drifted into the Airplane and out of her marriage. Her lively descriptions of the close-knit musical community revolving around Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium successfully evoke both the highs and lows of the Summer of Love. Slick was never one to shrink from the highs, and she gives us a few entertaining psychedelic vignettes. Uniquely, the Airplane played all three of the pivotal rock festivals that, respectively, inaugurated an era (Monterey), defined it for posterity (Woodstock), and ignominiously ended it (Altamont). Slick cheerfully and explicitly details her sexual liaisons with all but one of her bandmates and an encounter with Jim Morrison involving a bed full of smashed strawberries. In the ’70s, Slick had a child, tried to slip acid into President Nixon’s tea, and got drunk often, finally quitting the revamped and renamed Jefferson Starship in 1978. A few years later she reenlisted, at this point the only original member; this version of Starship was a soulless commercial enterprise that commissioned its songs from top Hollywood hacks, but the aging Slick liked the —easy ride.— Since retiring several years ago, she’s been campaigning to end medical testing on animals, but coauthor Cagan (Marianne Williamson’s coauthor for A Return to Love, not reviewed) doesn—t help her explain the cause very coherently. Slick’s swaggering, unapologetic persona gets a little irritating by the end, but her progress from hippie queen to cranky rich liberal makes for a fun and emblematic trip. (4 pages color photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-446-52302-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

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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