Disheartening about big companies and government; encouraging about the human natures of people like Embrey.

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Dangerous Jeeps and Me

After witnessing a fatal crash and learning of a dangerous flaw in some Jeep models, a Virginia woman ran a grass-roots campaign for their recall, as described in this memoir.

In October 2012 on Virginia’s I-81, stalled traffic stopped Embrey’s car and the 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee behind her. A big rig hit them both. Embrey witnessed two Jeep passengers die, trapped in flames, one still trying to get out; her father managed to save a third. Afterward, Embrey experienced PTSD; she woke up screaming from horrible nightmares of charred skeletons. Her distress worsened when she learned a badly placed fuel tank was a known problem in some Jeep models. People were surviving Jeep crashes only to be burned to death. Embrey realized she “had to do something…to inform others about the potential danger of certain-model Jeeps.” Remembering a news report about a successful Change.org petition, Embrey began one of her own to demand a recall, setting a goal of 100,000 signatures and eventually gathering more than 128,000. She collected supporting evidence, talked to experts, sought guidance from sources like the Center for Auto Safety, contacted journalists, posted on social media, wrote to government officials, and arranged a billboard. Her efforts gained attention, but Embrey never got the recall she wanted. She writes persuasively of what seems like backroom dealing between Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; she notes that “ConsumerAffairs.com named NHTSA’s handling of the Jeep recall, or rather lack thereof, in their Top 10 Scams, Scandals, & Outrages of 2013.” A medical review transcriptionist, Embrey had no previous media or activist training, performing advocacy out of pocket while caring for two children, an intellectually disabled cousin, and the pets she owned and fostered. The writing is sometimes overly earnest—“The Roe parents exchanged glances relaying their loving gratitude at being alive and blessed with each other, their boys, and another beautiful day”—but Embrey has made painstaking efforts to present her case and check her facts. Her compassion and hard work come through, but it’s her carefully presented evidence that convinces readers justice has not been served.

Disheartening about big companies and government; encouraging about the human natures of people like Embrey.

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1495355110

Page Count: 312

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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