A family court judge struggles to come to terms with her tumultuous childhood.
After a visit from her brother Eric, it became clear to English that dark questions from their childhood in Utah still haunted her: “How could I exorcise my mother yet carry her still? How had I deeply loved a monstrous father... [and] why did I seem successful as an adult and yet feel so utterly lost?” Eric soon arranged for a return to Salt Lake City to confront their parents and the Mormon Church. As a narrative device, this setup provides a compelling and even suspenseful structure to English’s debut memoir. Stories unfold within stories as these two adults attempt to revisit houses and family, reconnect with each other, and confess their darkest secrets. Memories of their parents’ bitter battles over money and religion expand thoughtfully into family mythologies of early pioneers and settlers. English traces her own personality back to these family memories and her poetic descriptions of the Utah mountains and their “geology of fear.” She also examines the ripple effects of sexism, racism, and homophobia within a church she tried to challenge but soon fled. The answers Eric and English sought were never easy; the violent, alcoholic mother they remember was also the first to stand up for equality against her wealthy parents. But even more complicated is English’s disturbing relationship with her father. The author is fearless in revisiting incredibly difficult moments, moving effortlessly between perspectives of the detached judge and the naive young girl mistakenly confident in a father’s love. English crafts passages that are truly shocking and difficult to read, but then pushes them even further by using them to explain her own views on family law as a judge. She makes many arguments about the system and her experiences, some thought-provoking and some inevitably controversial. But like all the stories contained in her memoir, they are consistently well constructed and seem necessary for her personal salvation.
A devastating and intelligently told story of siblings searching for answers that reveals how a family can be torn apart by history, intolerance, and abuse.
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").
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)