In her debut memoir, Ossen writes about growing up in a deeply dysfunctional household.
The author writes that her mother, Hedda, had a phobia about germs, so she didn’t allow anyone to touch Ossen when she was a child for fear of infection—not even her father, George. Ossen also wasn’t allowed to talk to strangers, go to school, have friends, or even open the refrigerator by herself when she was hungry. At one point, the author’s uncle, Will, convinced George to have Hedda committed to a psychiatric institution in order to get her some help; Ossen writes that when a psychiatrist told Will that she was “trying to find out why [Hedda] hates her child so much,” Will angrily responded that “her plight is...the very opposite—she loves her child too much!” Will moved Hedda to a sanitorium, Ossen writes, from which George engineered her release. The author’s first demands for independence, at age 13, illustrate the control that her mother exercised over her; the teen told Hedda that she no longer wanted her to “check my bowel movements,” and, for the first time, she disobeyed a standing order to avoid a public mailbox. As an adult, Ossen was wracked with fear and self-doubt, but she still married and went to college. By her mid-40s, she obtained a master’s degree in social work, and established herself as a professional therapist. Overall, Ossen tells an intensely personal story over the course of this lengthy book—one that’s a testament to her impressive drive to survive and find personal fulfillment in her daily life. Readers may sometimes express horror at the routine emotional cruelties that Ossen describes in these pages, as when her father happily ate an ice cream cone in front of her, when her own mother wouldn’t ever allow her to have the dessert. However, the author’s repeated use of similar phrases to articulate her feelings (“I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t hear anything”) sometimes has the effect of lessening the book’s emotional impact.
An often heartrending story of abuse and recovery.
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").
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)