A touching look at the effect stereotypical attitudes have on the disabled.


My Extraordinary Life

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.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479760480

Page Count: 194

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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