Moves the argument well past simple “not in my backyard” sentiments—though more perspectives and stronger storytelling might...

READ REVIEW

SNOB ZONES

FEAR, PREJUDICE, AND REAL ESTATE

Real estate journalist Prevost makes a strong argument against restrictive zoning in elitist Northeastern communities.

Though ordinances might seem a dry topic for a compelling book, a journalist who has written for the New York Times and the Boston Globe Magazine (where her reporting led to earlier versions of some of these chapters) makes the issue interesting on a number of levels, taking the argument beyond property values into the essential notion of what a community is and what might benefit it. Through reporting on elitist enclaves such as Roxbury and Darien in her home state of Connecticut, as well as other New England towns, Prevost shows that preservation is often a mask for prejudice and that communities are strangling themselves through legal and economic restrictions that prevent young families from moving to town and older retirees from staying there. They also serve as a buffer against racial and ethnic minorities, as well as economic classes, that the wealthy moved there to escape. “Today’s advocates of large-lot zoning do not often go around talking about their desire to drive up prices and keep out the riff-raff,” she writes, though that is the effect of what they’re doing. “Roxbury was lacking in a vital resource: the people who keep rural towns running,” she writes. In a region where well-to-do communities oppose condos where “affordable housing” might run $250,000 or much more, the book does an effective job demonstrating how restrictiveness hurts the communities themselves. Fleshing out the argument and making it more nuanced would mean treating the developers more as profit-seekers than social crusaders and presenting more of the perspective of those who live there (including prominent members of the supposedly liberal media elite).

Moves the argument well past simple “not in my backyard” sentiments—though more perspectives and stronger storytelling might have made a good book even better.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0157-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more