A mother celebrates the wonder of how her family was formed, including the adoption of her son, in this debut memoir.
In the opening of her book, Shepard declares her deep belief in the “law of attraction.” She asserts that her autobiography provides “absolute proof” that the law “works” and that “biological ties” are not essential in the creation of a “real family.” Her first experience of this was at age 12 when her mother, who was divorced from the author’s biological father, married again. Shepard saw the new man as a threat to “mom and me as a team concept,” but after having coffee with William, she found she had a “dad for life.” The work moves rapidly forward to discuss how the author and her husband, Carl, came to adopt their son, CJ. Shepard describes how CJs birth mother, then unbeknown to her, was caught in a traffic jam outside a hotel in which the author was staying in Dallas: “Is this what they mean about ships passing in the night? Was CJ trying to communicate? Was it all coincidence?” For those entering the adoption process, Shepard’s story is a positive and inspirational one as it describes a supportive and respectful relationship between birth and adoptive mothers. But the author adopts a conversational writing style that lacks poise and finesse: “I just couldn’t believe that in a few minutes the dream I had for so long and, to be honest, had resigned myself to the fact that it would never happen would now be a reality. I was really going to be a mommy.” Shepard also tends to employ exclamation points unnecessarily, on occasion using two or more on one page of text: “He likes to tell people we have different names because we had different fathers!” This may reflect her palpable delight in becoming a parent, but quickly becomes irritating. The memoir is a touching statement of maternal love. But the story of how Shepard’s family was formed may appear less remarkable to a wider readership, particularly those who are skeptical about the law of attraction.
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").
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)