Not always an easy or pleasant read but an unforgettable one.


Forever Kalei's Mom


Deeply affecting memoir on the loss of a child, by business analyst and mother Holizki.

After enjoying a close mother-daughter relationship during Kalei’s childhood, single mom Holizki and her teenage daughter began to clash. Kalei became friends with a wild group of classmates and was acting out after the end of Holizki’s long-term relationship with Gene. However, in the summer of 2001, Kalei seemed to be ready to turn her life around—renewing friendships with junior high buddies and vowing to pay more attention to her schoolwork. First, she wanted one last outing with her other friends, a camping trip before a friend moved cross-country. Despite reservations, Holizki agreed. Early on the morning of Aug. 20, 2001, Holizki received the telephone call every parent fears: Kalei had been in a very bad car accident. Worse yet, because she and the other girls were not carrying identification, law enforcement couldn’t immediately tell Holizki whether or not her daughter survived. With brutal, heart-wrenching honesty, Holizki shares the hours, days, and years after her only daughter’s death. At times, she was unabashedly bitter and angry, as people couldn’t comprehend the “unspeakable” loss she suffered; instead, they offered clichéd, often unintentionally cruel platitudes. Holizki traces her horrible, unimaginable journey, not presuming to provide a self-help guide for parents facing similar heartbreak. What works for her may not be ideal for other mourners, and by the same token, she wishes others would not assume they know what’s best for her. Holizki’s insistence on using the word “dead”—often spelling it out for emphasis: “Kalei is dead—d-e-a-d. Dead. I don’t know what that means”—reflects the finality of the catastrophe. She is saved by her firm belief that Kalei remains close; the memoir’s title perfectly encapsulates her attitude.

Not always an easy or pleasant read but an unforgettable one.

Pub Date: July 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4917-6820-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2015

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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