An engaging, warts-and-all telling of the ups and downs of a full-time caregiver.

KICK-ASS KINDA GIRL

A MEMOIR OF LIFE, LOVE AND CAREGIVING

In this debut memoir, the wife of a wealthy entrepreneur cares for him after his debilitating stroke and reflects with pride on a life of service.

Koll opens her remembrance with the story of her brother, Don Robinson’s courting actress Dolores Hart, who abruptly canceled her engagement to Robinson in 1963 to join a monastery. Robinson never married, Koll says, but he maintained a platonic friendship with Hart until his death. With this star-studded beginning, readers may expect more celebrities, and there are a few: One of Koll’s childhood friends was Lucie Arnaz, for instance, and she later dated Mark Harmon. However, the author mainly tells of overcoming challenges, such as her father’s drinking problem, her mother’s death from cancer, and a divorce from her first husband. The heart of the book is devoted to her second marriage to the Los Angeles real estate developer and philanthropist Don Koll. Their first date was at a 1997 White House reception. There are accounts of Beverly Hills dinners, vacations in St. Tropez, and even an encounter with a car thief in France. In 2005, however, Don had a stroke, which changed Koll’s life forever. She became his caregiver, helping him through daily tasks of living until his death in 2011—the same year that her brother died. In this memoir, Koll offers cleareyed memories of hospitals, health care, and hope. The subject matter may remind some readers of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s 2005 account of coping with her husband’s death while tending to her sick daughter. Koll isn’t as contemplative as Didion is, but she does know how to make the people in her memories feel real to readers. Although the celebrity cameos sometimes feel gratuitous, the author’s attitude is consistently uplifting. She tells of working tirelessly to improve Don’s and her own quality of life; at one point, she asked his doctor if there might be a way for the couple to have “one more roll in the hay.” “You never give up,” his doctor told her later—a perfect summary of this clever, comforting memoir.

An engaging, warts-and-all telling of the ups and downs of a full-time caregiver.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-7323649-0-5

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Ward Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2018

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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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IN MY PLACE

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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