Readers may feel themselves responding as her college acquaintances did: “my problems and I were a burden. ‘You’re too...


Journalist and erstwhile YA author Hale offers six previously published essays gathered in an apparent attempt to prove the collection’s title.

The title springs from events described in a 2014 Guardian piece called “Am I Being Catfished?” that made news in literary circles, when the author became so obsessed with a negative Goodreads review of her first YA book, No One Else Can Have You (2013), that she burrowed into the reviewer’s online identity and physically tracked her down to confront her. Slightly reworked as “Catfish,” that essay leads off this collection. In the others, Hale recounts a hunting trip to Okeechobee in which she “stabbed the shit out of” a female feral hog and a separate series of futile efforts to track down and kill a mountain lion in Hollywood’s Griffith Park; one reporting trip to the Miss America pageant and another to Snowflake, Arizona, to profile a community of people suffering from “environmental illness”; and, most poignantly, the rape she endured at a sketchy massage parlor on the same day she moved into her freshman dorm at Harvard, an event that warped her college years and, by implication, perhaps her adult life. Hale weaves references to her own mental illness throughout the collection, describing how, after the publication of “Am I Being Catfished?” “I went bananas. I lost my mind,” took a knife to her wrists, and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. For all her seeming forthcomingness, however, the author rarely gives readers anything other than what feels like an intentionally curated sense of Kathleen Hale, crazy stalker. The essays don’t work as well together thematically as she perhaps hopes they do, an effect intensified by her caginess as to the timeline of both events recounted and the essays’ original publication dates.

Readers may feel themselves responding as her college acquaintances did: “my problems and I were a burden. ‘You’re too much,’ they said. And they were right; I was impossible.”

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2909-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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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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