Maloy bares her heart (and sometimes her teeth) in an honest debut that’s both snarky and sweet.
It’s hard to imagine that a memoir about a baby with a rare heart defect could make readers laugh. But that’s what “Crazy Heart Mama” Maloy’s blunt South Texas voice does. Sometimes her irreverent humor feels more like whistling in the dark; e.g., when first finding out that something could be wrong with her baby, she sadly wonders if he’ll be a “bobblehead.” Other times, her gritty humor is a pressure valve releasing stress, albeit in a juvenile way, such as when she felt like telling her mother-in-law to “go eat a giant bag of dicks.” And there are a few startling admissions; for example, when sick baby Colman wouldn’t sleep, she almost called him a “little fucker.” But honesty is the beauty of Maloy’s to-the-point voice. What sleep-deprived mom hasn’t fantasized—even with a healthy baby—about handing her screaming bundle of poop to somebody else for eight hours? The fact is that when Colman was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and a leaky valve, Maloy rolled up her sleeves and became his biggest advocate. Describing Colman’s condition as being born with “half a heart,” Maloy adroitly details the excruciating choices she and her husband had to make. None of the options were good. The author’s brusque voice may make some readers flinch—at times, even her family thought she was cold—but there’s no doubt that she dearly loves her son. Whether it was caring for Colman’s bloody hernia, being covered in projectile vomit, or waiting through surgery during which her baby would be clinically dead, Maloy’s well-written, heart-rending story spares no detail.
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").
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)