Readable memoir of ``Alice,'' by day a psychologist, by night ``Mistress Jacqueline'': a dominatrix, or ``fantasy engineer''- -although ``some people call me `Goddess.' '' Rimmer (The Harrad Experiment, etc.) and Tavel started out to interview 10 or 12 porno stars to find out how they abandoned parental sexual and religious conditioning, bared their bodies, and had sex in public. They landed Mistress Jacqueline, who wanted all their time for her own story. Jacqueline is, she says, the most sought-after, highly paid dominatrix on the West Coast, and has appeared on national talk shows with one of her slaves to discuss the sensitivities at the base of B&D (bondage and discipline). Much that she tells us is unspeakable indeed, but enlightening as well. Some forms of sexual abuse she thinks truly perverse, such as rape, in which there is no bond or mutual agreement. B&D is largely acting, but sometimes with gross activities that make even Jacqueline run out of the room and heave. What keeps her servile clients returning are their bonding to her, as well as her understanding that they truly need a bitch goddess—and her leather outfits say she's just that. Outside the dungeon, Alice/Jacqueline herself is more sexually responsive in the submissive role. Her opening chapters present her as an overachieving Marjorie Morningstar in the Bronx, rebelling painfully against a dominating mother and passive father. Her four-year marriage collapsed when her no-money husband chose to do stand-up comedy and let her work. Only at graduate school, undergoing therapy, did she learn that ``nothing is wrong or bad or ugly between consenting adults'' and that her obsession with spanking fantasies was okay. Sympathetic—but rough on the stomach.

Pub Date: June 10, 1991

ISBN: 0-87975-656-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1991

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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