An intimate memoir about finding closure, coupled with copious true-crime flourishes.

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Bolder And Braver

MY UNDERCOVER LIFE

A veteran chronicles her postwar life in which she became an undercover law enforcement agent, started a family, and confronted hard truths of domestic violence.

In this direct follow-up to Torres’ debut memoir, Still Standing (2014), readers rejoin the Latina veteran of the first Iraq War after she returned stateside, working as a narcotics agent. Gone is the death wish that drove her into the military after a prom night rape; it’s replaced here with courage as she faced exciting opportunities in her new career. She presents a firsthand view of what it’s like to do undercover work as a woman, stripped of the fictions of movies and television—a no-nonsense account of buys-and-busts, prostitution stings, and a deep cover, Donnie Brasco–esque operation at a social club. Beneath it all is Torres’ continued emotional struggle as a rape survivor as she attempted to open up and cultivate healthy relationships. While vacationing in Cuba, she fell for Narciso, a charming native who soon came to the United States, where they married and had a daughter. Yet this happiness was short-lived: Narciso swung mercurially between being violent and apologetic, turning her home into a place that was more unpredictable than the crime-ridden streets. Torres excels at depicting this tension, and offers a remarkable, candid portrayal of a physically capable, emotionally intuitive woman who finds herself in an atmosphere of abuse. It’s difficult to discuss this book without referencing its predecessor, however, as it ties up many of Still Standing's loose ends—most importantly, the fact that Torres finally confronted the man who raped her. That trauma is less present in this volume; instead, she refers to it only in passing, which renders the book less powerful. Otherwise, though, this is an impeccably edited story about the long- and short-term effects of rape and abuse, told from an unusual perspective.

An intimate memoir about finding closure, coupled with copious true-crime flourishes.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-938812-51-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Full Court Press

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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