A charming, relatable memoir on adoption, love, and identity.




After discovering that she was adopted, debut author Duren set out to find her birth mother and uncover her biological roots.

From a very young age, the author suspected that she might not be biologically related to her immediate family members. She looked different from them, for one thing, and often found herself emotionally isolated from her mother and brother. She occasionally asked her parents if she was adopted and they always waved off the question—until one day, her father simply admitted that she was. She was 15 at the time, and from that day forward, she was committed to finding her biological mother. She chronicles her long journey in a story involving decades-old records, helpful friends, unsupportive family members, old yearbooks, two private detectives, multiple phone calls with people who knew more than they admitted, and years of patient waiting. Along the way, Duren reveals bits and pieces of her own personal life, which included three marriages, four children, a brief time living in Germany, a successful career as a photographer, and a lifelong love of theater. In her quest, she encountered encouragement and discouragement from various parties, ultimately building her own support system, comprised of friends who loved her and were equally invested in her search. Duren writes somberly about serious events in her life (her adoptive parents’ aging, the slow pain of waiting for news, chasing dead ends), but her quirky sense of humor emerges throughout her memoir as she muses on her own insecurities and fantasies. She jokes about imaginary best-case and worst-case scenarios, writes silly captions for photographs (such as one that compares her haircut and her son’s), and recounts her childhood memories with fondness and amusement. In writing this delightful memoir, Duren ultimately explores the difference between the family we’re given and the family we choose. Readers will be left feeling satisfied by the hopeful ending to her search.

A charming, relatable memoir on adoption, love, and identity.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9982794-2-8

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Word Hermit Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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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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