A remarkable tale of perseverance and a haunting reminder that abuse can often hide in plain sight.



A stark, shocking memoir that offers a look into the mindset of abused children.

When Anderson (The Big Fib, 2010) was very young, a school psychologist asked her if her parents ever hit her. She writes that she told him no, parroting what her “religiously devout slightly psychotic parents” instructed her to say if she was ever questioned about conditions at home: “My mommy and daddy never, ever hit me, except when I do something really bad.” Anderson writes that she was lying, and the psychologist seemed to know it, but nothing came of the meeting. In reality, she says, her parents were regularly beating, sexually abusing, and emotionally terrorizing her and her 15 siblings. Yet the outside world turned a blind eye, and none of the children were capable of betraying “The Family.” Some may find it hard to imagine how such a situation could go unnoticed for so long, but Anderson says that a combination of psychological manipulation and physical terror allowed the abuse to flourish. She frankly describes instances when she says she betrayed her siblings to protect herself (one of her titular 11 regrets) and when speaking up led to violent repercussions. She also captures the complex relationships that children often have with their abusers. Her mother, she says, could show flashes of affection, and she sometimes felt close to her father, who once told her, “Don’t ever be like me.” But these pleasant memories are few. Worst off, she says, was her younger brother, Ronald, the family scapegoat who spent his formative years handcuffed in a shower stall and eating table scraps. Yet even while suffering the most appalling kinds of neglect, Anderson writes, she retained a hope that life could be better. Her descriptions of her struggle to retain a sense of self and dignity are heartbreaking but inspiring. Eventually, she says, she saw a chance for escape and seized it, joining the Army in her late teens. Although the fates of her other siblings weren’t all so positive, this memoir’s ending offers a ray of hope in an otherwise dark story.

A remarkable tale of perseverance and a haunting reminder that abuse can often hide in plain sight.

Pub Date: May 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0692415924

Page Count: 370

Publisher: Little Bear Publications

Review Posted Online: May 11, 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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