A poignant and powerful book. (16 b&w photos, not seen)

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MONIQUE AND THE MANGO RAINS

TWO YEARS WITH A MIDWIFE IN MALI

A respectful, unsentimental portrait of a village in Mali, and a moving story of a warm friendship between an American Peace Corps volunteer fresh out of college and a young Malian health worker.

Holloway spent two years, from 1989 to 1991, working alongside Monique Dembele in the tiny village of Nampossela, where Monique served as midwife. The author is immediately plunged into the birthing business by her capable new friend, whose medical resources are severely limited but whose personal assets are quite extraordinary. Trapped in an unhappy arranged marriage, Monique, who has her own household to run and has her own baby strapped to her back, works long, hard hours to bring other women’s babies safely into the world, to teach mothers how to feed and care for their offspring, and at the same time to minister to the general health needs of the whole village. Holloway does all she can to help, working at Monique’s side, weighing babies, teaching women how to make rehydration formula, striving to bring birth control to the village women and arranging for Monique, rather than her feckless husband, to collect her monthly paycheck. She seems to slip easily into village life, joining in their celebrations, sharing their food and drink, living in a tin-roofed hut without electricity or running water. At the end of the two years, she and her fiancé, another Peace Corps volunteer, return home, having arranged for Monique to visit them in the U.S. the following year. (In one of the funnier moments here, inexperienced traveler Monique agrees to fly only after learning that she will be able sit inside the plane and not cling to the outside.) Holloway does not disguise the realities of life in a poor rural African village, and yet she is never condescending. Her admiration, respect and love for Monique come across as genuine, as does her grief at Monique’s death.

A poignant and powerful book. (16 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-57766-435-3

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Waveland

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2006

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

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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