NO SHIRT, NO SHOES . . . NO PROBLEM!

The star of his eponymous television show has hit it big with recordings and paperbacks (You Might Be a Redneck If, not reviewed, etc.) and now presents more of what was once called rube comedy. He plows the same field thoroughly worked by his fellow Atlantan, the late Lewis Grizzard, and a sort of yokel dybbuk appears to be at work as Foxworthy recounts yarns of his wayward blue-collar, redneck boyhood. Projectile vomiting seems to have been the most debonair of activities, and we are presented with enough instruction in the finer points of mooning to threaten the firmest of civilizations. What passes for Foxworthy's life story, thus far, involves fishing with granddaddy, life with oft-married mamma (a.k.a. Carole), encouragement of his sporting life by oft- married daddy (a.k.a. Big Jim), courtship rituals of Dixie denizens, and the manly art of maintaining a singles' apartment. The relationship between hunting and gender isn't scanted: ``All men delight in pursuits that disgust women. Hunting is near the top of the list,'' he says. ``You never see deer heads in beauty parlors.'' To complete the picture, add some talk about a lot of nasty relatives, a little attention to body effluents, and a discussion of the author's vasectomy. (He, like may gents down his way, is much concerned with his ``package'' and, one supposes, may some day have to be persuaded not to show you his operation.) Foxworthy, a slick Southerner who kind of likes his celebrity, provides simple fodder for his fans. The hillbilly hijinks, to be fair, are mildly entertaining, but you might be a redneck if you take this text for anything more than showbiz ephemera. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 3, 1996

ISBN: 0-7868-6234-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1996

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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