A loving tribute to friendship that proves how one person can influence the life of another.


As a young teacher, Parker is introduced to a deaf child who immediately captures her heart; they communicate with each other beyond a standard language system and forge a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Parker first met 10-year-old Carlos Louis Salazar at the Utah School for the Deaf in 1964. Deaf since infancy, Salazar charmed the 24-year-old high school teacher with his mischievousness and unique brand of communicating. In addition to signing, he learned at school the complexities of speech and how tongue, teeth and breath affect sounds. He manipulated these tools, virtually re-creating language, to suit his individuality as he connected with others. What some heard as broken speech, incorrect grammar or poor communication skills, Parker perceived as creativity bordering on brilliance. They developed a mother-son relationship grounded in unconditional love that saw them through Salazar’s reckless adolescence, illness and premature death. His brief life forever changed Parker’s notion of language as a limited construct. With her rich, poetic prose that skillfully articulates nuanced emotions and thoughts, Parker does full justice to her friend’s memory. Her book transcends the ubiquitous “me” and “I” of memoir and hovers on the brink of being a compassionate cautionary tale: love as well as you can, look beyond the surface, appreciate your gifts and others’, listen and learn. Though the first chapter opens with Salazar’s death, the author doesn’t dwell on the loss. Instead, she focuses on Salazar’s singular character, his triumphs and missteps and his effect on others. Like a parent, she sometimes overpraises achievements that others might consider ordinary, yet she never excuses his forays into drugs and crime. What broadens Parker’s story from exclusively intimate to universally relatable are her numerous examples of the many ways to communicate: the doctor who limited interactions with Salazar to cold, scientific jargon; the bristly nurse who ruffled her patient’s hair to express affection. Neither resolving nor overly theorizing her experiences, Parker allows readers to glean what they will from her heartfelt story. 

A loving tribute to friendship that proves how one person can influence the life of another.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983629405

Page Count: 213

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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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