An inspiring tale that’s told with honesty and love.



A debut author’s memoir unpacks her emotional baggage from having been raised in a family of drug users and abusers.

Born in 1971, Hunt grew up in and around California’s Central Valley, during which she gained plenty of experience with marijuana: “I was the (self-appointed) joint roller of my family. I couldn’t yet tie my shoes, but I could roll you a doobie and/or fix you up a ‘cocktail’ cigarette.” As a child, she was permitted to smoke with her parents and siblings, she says, but she did so only intermittently. In fifth grade, Hunt made a decision: She would no longer use drugs, even though marijuana remained a big part of her family members’ lives. Her two older sisters, she says, were taking amphetamine pills with their mother in their early teens. One began using methamphetamine at 14, and eventually began manufacturing it. The author, the youngest of her mother’s four children, didn’t learn that she had a different father than her siblings until she was 14. Years later, she contacted him and discovered that she had two more half sisters, with whom she established relationships. The number of people in this narrative can be dizzying, and include half siblings, stepfathers, stepsiblings, stepgrandparents, nieces, and family friends; several of the latter turn out to be drug dealers. As a result, readers are likely to have difficulty keeping them all straight. Still, the trajectory of Hunt’s life, despite a teenage pregnancy and an abusive, dangerous relationship with the father of her two sons, remained remarkably on track. Despite stumbles and backslides, she turned to therapy, not drugs, to help her work toward a successful career as a court stenographer and provide a safe home for her children. In well-crafted, often poignant, prose, she offers a jaw-dropping, insider’s view of substance abuse throughout three generations. This alternately disturbing and uplifting memoir suffers from some repetition and some confusing chronology, but ultimately, it’s a testament to Hunt’s resilience in the face of unfavorable odds.  Black-and-white family photos add satisfying context to her account of her later years.

An inspiring tale that’s told with honesty and love.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-692-04051-5

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Smoke Rings Media LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2019

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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