An affecting autobiography that reflects philosophically on the perils of remembrance.

Rotting Floorboards and Debut Dreams


A debut memoir recounts one woman’s emotionally dysfunctional upbringing.

This is an unusual remembrance not only because it largely covers Rabuzzi’s (Mother and Child, 1994, etc.) life only until the end of high school or because of her accounts of abuse, but because she chose to recount her experiences from the perspective of “Alicia,” a kind of youthful alter ego. While growing up in Vermont, Alicia distinctly felt the absence of her father, Howard, whose enlistment in the military following Pearl Harbor kept him away for so long that she didn’t immediately recognize him upon his return. Her mother, referred to as “Mama” throughout the book, was an accomplished biochemist but a remarkably immature person who married her husband on impulse. After Howard returned from the war, instead of pursing his credentialed profession as an attorney, he purchased a farm in rural Unadilla, New York, and relocated the family there. Alicia’s childhood is depicted as both lonely and unstable; her evenings were largely devoted to the completion of chores by herself, while her parents overindulged in alcohol and relentlessly attacked each other. The family never seemed to have enough money for the most basic goods, let alone birthday parties and Christmas presents. One Christmas, the family hastily decamped from a restaurant; when Alicia inquired about their rush, Howard admitted he didn’t have enough money to tip the waitress. Alicia was emotionally unprepared for social life and was often tormented by her peers both at summer camp and school. Prior to her senior year, her parents suddenly moved to Miami without informing her and sabotaged her return to school despite her aunt’s generous promise to pay for it. The conclusion offers a thoughtful meditation on how memoir messily combines fact and fiction and how the author’s recollection is designed to pay due deference to both: “So why not call Alicia’s story an out-and-out memoir? A need for some distance is my primary motive.” Much of the tale is heart-wrenching, especially as so much is told from the viewpoint of a confused and wounded child. Rabuzzi tells of traumas with impressive clarity and sensitivity and without a hint of cloying melodrama. Overall, this is a sad but gripping tale conveyed with great emotional intelligence.

An affecting autobiography that reflects philosophically on the perils of remembrance. 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9973459-1-9

Page Count: 488

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?