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

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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