An ambitious recovery account that entertains but fails to focus on addiction or redemption.

Happy Chasing Happy

AN AIMLESS HIGH TO HAPPINESS

A young mixed martial arts fighter shares his struggles in and out of the ring in this candid memoir.

Isip (10 Stacks to Success, 2014) fell in love with mixed martial arts when he was in junior high school in New Jersey. By 2001, he was a trained fighter and won his debut match. The training was brutal, and the emotional roller coaster of being a competitor often left Isip drained. But his commitment to the sport stemmed from another battle: his struggle with alcohol and drug abuse. As a teenager, Isip experimented with binge drinking, ecstasy, and other drugs, which never ended well. He and his friends invented something called Sexticy, an insane mixture of Cisco, Stacker pills, and Viagra. One particularly bad bender on Sexticy led to Isip’s brother intervening, but it was not enough of a wake-up call for the fighter. He then went to Miami and was arrested, an experience he shares in humiliating detail. Eventually, a dark depression settled over Isip, and a suicide attempt prompted him to reevaluate his life choices. The volume includes comic-book-like illustrations and photographs, enhancing the ease of the story. Set in a teenage New Jersey wasteland, Isip narrates scenes with fun dialogue, pop-culture references (his talk of pills includes an illustration of Jessie Spano’s meltdown on the TV series Saved by the Bell) and lots of Jackass-worthy action. But he mixes this narration with lectures on the effects of drugs and alcohol, including a condemnation of antidepressants that ignores the many people taking these pills who do not turn into addicts. His meditations on happiness, per the title, come too little too late. By far, the book’s best sections involve Isip as a fighter, describing the ego and arena of mixed martial arts with great passion. A straightforward narrative of drug addict to prize fighter would have made for a less manic memoir.

An ambitious recovery account that entertains but fails to focus on addiction or redemption. 

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68301-638-0

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Tate Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2016

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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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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