An unflinching memoir that offers vital American history.



Debut author Jackson recounts incidents of sexual harassment, revealing the generational wounds that the #MeToo movement seeks to heal.

“There are all sorts of books about accomplished corporate women who are confident, powerful, one of the boys, and for whom everything goes well,” the author writes at the beginning of this memoir. “But that was not my life.” Jackson presents painful memories of corporate America between the 1970s and 2010s. Her story begins with a traditional ’50s childhood, during which, she says, her submissive mother kept house for her engineering-professor father. “I didn’t want my mother’s life of fear, abuse, subservience, and catering to him,” she remembers. “I wanted his life—my own money, a job where I was important, away from the house.” Jackson had a desire to study biology in college—a prospect that no adults in her life encouraged, despite her 4.0 GPA—and to enter a science-related field.  However, she says that as she started her career, men worked together to sabotage her—picking on her for made-up infractions, demanding sexual favors, or blaming her for their mistakes. When a higher-up decreed that he wouldn’t promote workers who didn’t have doctorates, she went back to school, only to encounter more harassment from professors, she says. Jackson goes on to share how she fought against various injustices, including age and sex discrimination. In separate sections in each chapter, she analyzes specific social and political advancements in the United States and relates them to her own life; this can feel a bit tedious as a narrative device, but it’s also useful in tracing the overall rise of feminist consciousness. References to Anita Hill’s 1991 U.S. Senate testimony and the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh emphasize the relevance of the author’s story today: “Twenty-seven years later, we were in a time warp,” she laments while reflecting on the Kavanaugh hearings. Jackson’s commiseration with younger generations of women is particularly touching when she tells of how two of her own sons were accused of sexual harassment.

An unflinching memoir that offers vital American history.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63152-662-6

Page Count: 260

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

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A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.



In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family’s cycle of separation and reunification.

Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family’s only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Though she was too young to remember her father when he entered the United States illegally seeking money to improve life for his family, she idolized him from afar. However, she also blamed him for taking away her mother after he sent for her when the author was not yet 5 years old. Though she emulated her sister, she ultimately answered to herself, and both siblings constantly sought affirmation of their parents’ love, whether they were present or not. When one caused disappointment, the siblings focused their hopes on the other. These contradictions prove to be the narrator’s hallmarks, as she consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence. Even as a girl, Grande understood the redemptive power of language to define—in the U.S., her name’s literal translation, “big queen,” led to ridicule from other children—and to complicate. In spelling class, when a teacher used the sentence “my mamá loves me” (mi mamá me ama), Grande decided to “rearrange the words so that they formed a question: ¿Me ama mi mamá? Does my mama love me?”

A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6177-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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