A well-balanced, soul-searching family memoir with broad appeal.

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Queer Rock Love

A FAMILY MEMOIR

In this LGBTQ memoir, a teacher and activist relates the changes, challenges, and joys of her marriage to a trans-identified psychotherapist/rock ’n’ roller.

“The first time I ever saw Katy, she was wearing a full beard and a prosthetic man-chest with perfectly molded pecs and sculpted abs,” begins this memoir. Schilt was attracted to Katy Koonce but not yet ready to come out. The two finally connected in group therapy, “a strange place to start a relationship,” but it had some advantages: “Before we ever spent a moment alone together, Katy knew that I was a depression-prone approval seeker….I knew that Katy was a former drug addict with hepatitis C” and also a therapist herself. Both had trouble with body image, Schilt from growing up with “compulsive dieters” and Koonce, who is transgender, from experiencing gender dysphoria. In Part I, Schilt describes the couple’s courtship, marriage, and birth of their child Waylon, ending with Koonce’s much-desired final chest reconstruction. Part II turns to Koonce’s treatment for hepatitis C, which weakened her and required much caretaking while Schilt was also looking after their young son. This left Schilt feeling bruised; Part III examines how she learned to stand up for her own needs and began writing. What makes Schilt’s engaging work stand out in today’s crowded memoir field is how well she avoids its besetting sins, self-pity and melodrama. Her wry humor, hard-won insights, and appreciation of eccentricity come through instead, as when she describes Donna, Koonce’s force-of-nature mother: “Saying your prayers to the moon is pretty risqué stuff in a town where the Baptists still believe that Methodists go to hell.” Especially absorbing is seeing how Koonce’s illness forced Schilt to change. “All of my life, I’d been waiting for permission,” she writes. She had to deliberately “practice acting as entitled and taking up as much space as Katy,” which she found agonizing at first. Activism, a faith community that fit, and motherhood all contributed to her growth as well, described with lively clarity.

A well-balanced, soul-searching family memoir with broad appeal.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9860844-3-0

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Transgress Press

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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