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KEPT IN THE DARK

A provocative collection of family correspondence, but one that will leave readers with unanswered questions.

A largely epistolary debut memoir about a shocking family secret.

After his father’s death in 2000, philanthropist and gallery owner York writes, he discovered a boxful of letters and newspaper clippings in his parents’ shed. When he read its contents, he says, he learned that in the 1950s, when York was 2 years old, his father, Bob, spent two months in a Miami jail after his arrest for sexually abusing a minor in the Boy Scout troop that he led. During his father’s incarceration, he and York’s mother, Joyce, exchanged letters nearly daily. In addition, most evenings, the young author and his mom would park on the street outside the jail, so that Bob could see them from his window. He and Joyce exchanged signals—mostly about the status of his case—by flashing car headlights or lighting matches. In the letters, both parents communicated their frustration with the slow progress of the legal process but also affirmed their love and devotion to each other. Joyce also related news about the young author, as well as of other family members and friends. These family relationships were complicated, however, by the fact that Bob’s accuser was his nephew—Joyce’s sister’s son. York brackets this collection with his own commentary; the chapters before the letters provide background and brief biographical information, and those following relate what happened after Bob was released from jail. The author says that he didn’t learn of his father’s crime and incarceration until after both his parents had died, and that despite his efforts, he couldn’t find much information beyond what was in the letters themselves; as a result, readers will be left to wonder about some aspects of the story—for example, if Joyce’s support and forgiveness were as complete as the letters suggest. York’s inclusion of numerous family photographs, however, effectively illustrates how the author’s mother strove to make his life as normal as possible, and images of the documents add visual interest. York writes that he was a victim of unrelated sexual abuse himself, which made it difficult for him to process this previously unsuspected information about his father, whom he loved. Indeed, he neither makes excuses nor questions his parent’s guilt in this narrative. Instead, he presents the facts as he knows them and allows readers to draw their own conclusions.

A provocative collection of family correspondence, but one that will leave readers with unanswered questions.   

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9982734-0-2

Page Count: 302

Publisher: St. Broadway Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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