In this riveting account of how one child died at the hands of the health-care system that would save her, Bing brings to light a mechanism gone wild with greed and obscured by the silence of knowing collaborators. In the preface to her account of the Scheck family's disastrous encounter with a for-profit psychiatric facility, journalist Bing (Do or Die, 1991; Smoked, 1993) makes it clear that, having worked for a while in a drug-rehab program, she has firsthand knowledge of just how two-faced, how lacking in facilities, and how poorly staffed that system can be. Christy Scheck's hanging death while interned at a facility owned by National Medical Enterprises (NME) began with a system that made its diagnosis based on the bottom line: the availability and extent of the patient's insurance. The tomboyish 13-year-old, whose close relationship with her father, based on her athleticism, was being disrupted by her maturation, claimed he had sexually molested her— a lie which became the currency that bought her needed attention once she was cut off from her own family by the facility's undertrained staff. Incorrectly prescribed drugs, the encouragement to embellish her lies, and inadequate staffing all culminated in Christy's suicide. Her case was not unique. NME finally fell in the early '90s—suffering roughly $80 billion in losses—brought down by lawsuits by the Schecks and other families and patients who had suffered from NME's corrupt practices at facilities from coast to coast. Bing makes clear how human damage can be perpetrated by any institution that sees profit before real care. This is a devastating account in which facts fall like dominoes. It should alert us to the dangers of centralized institutions that have taken leave of their senses. Unforgettable. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-44841-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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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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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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