On the evidence of this bland, sunny-side-up (and apparently unassisted) autobiography, Puckett—one of major-league baseball's more solid citizens on the field and off—would be well advised to stick with his seasonal trade for as long as possible. The ninth and last child born into an affectionate and hard- working black family, Puckett (who turns 32 later this year) grew up on Chicago's South Side. A late bloomer as a ballplayer, the author (whose build reminds many observers of a fire hydrant) was drafted only after he'd spent a couple of years competing at the college level. Called up by the Minnesota Twins in 1984 after barely two years in the minors, Puckett was a big hit from the outset. A sneaky-fast center fielder with superb defensive skills and a dangerous batsman with above-average power, he helped his team win the World Series in 1987 and 1991. In the meantime, the industrious ballplayer married a local belle and settled in the Minneapolis area, where he's made a respected name for himself in community and national causes. By Puckett's phlegmatic account, the most dramatic event of his upwardly mobile existence turned on the question of whether the Twins would offer him enough money to sign a long-term contract. The club decided to do so, and the perennial All-Star appears prepared to spend the rest of his diamond career with Minnesota. Unfortunately, he recounts this potentially suspenseful episode in the same matter-of-fact style he employs for his experiences in showcase games, at testimonial banquets, on the road, and elsewhere. Leo Durocher notwithstanding, nice guys don't always finish last—but perhaps they should be cautioned about wearying fans with their Panglossian perspectives on the sporting life. (The relentlessly upbeat text has eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: April 28, 1993

ISBN: 0-06-017710-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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