A poignant memoir about the author’s struggles as a congenital amputee.
Born with no legs and only one arm, Sucha Vickers is all too familiar with the physical hardships facing disabled people. In her insightful memoir, she also details her confrontations with able-bodied stereotypes targeting the disabled. “[T]he absolute worst thing about a disability is that people see it before they see you,” she writes in her typical matter-of-fact style. Vickers believes her disability is the result of her mother taking the anti–morning sickness drug thalidomide while pregnant with her—“She spent a lifetime wishing she could have that one swallow back.” As a child “quite oblivious to the fact that [she] was different,” Vickers took to heart her father’s advice: “Try it first and if you can’t do it, then ask for help.” She could even play baseball and type as fast as her classmates in high school. Reality began to creep in when, as a young adult, she was denied a promotion because her supervisors feared her physical appearance would be a “turn-off” for future job applicants. “I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck,” the author recalls of experiencing “discrimination in its purest form.” While trying to “live normally in the able-bodied world,” she learned, she says, that “to some people I would never be anything more than the stereotype they created in their mind.” Often, she can’t seem to bridge “the huge gap between what people assume about me and the person I really am.” She nonetheless maintains a remarkably positive outlook: “I do have an extraordinary life.” Vickers wrote this book to keep a promise to her late grandmother, who had been a major influence on her. She’d be proud of how her granddaughter has so effectively helped people see the disabled as they really are—beyond their bodies.
A touching look at the effect stereotypical attitudes have on the disabled.
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)
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").