A textured, sometimes-cutting remembrance of a life of remarkable achievement.

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AS ALONE AS I WANT TO BE

Munter (When Teens Were Keen, 2005) recalls a career working as a psychologist, actor, and musician in this memoir.

Growing up in the 1950s in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, the author had an early fascination with the “glamorous and unknowable” lives of Hollywood celebrities. She had a burning desire to be like Doris Day, and she was enamored by a moment in the film By the Light of the Silvery Moon, when the actress “emerged from under a model T, all greasy, having successfully fixed the family flivver”—which she notes was radical for the “sexist 1950s.” Like Day’s character, Munter also disregarded the prescribed gender roles of her era; her initial career path led to her to study clinical psychology, and she became “the only full-time, tenure-tracked female in the entire psychology department” at Portland State University in Oregon. The author describes 1970s academia as being dominated by a clique of sexists (or “Rat Men”) who vindictively sought to impede her progress. But Munter was tenacious, and she developed a media presence as a TV psychologist, to the disdain of her “rat colleagues.” A foray into show business offers another example of the author’s determination: “It all started innocently enough. I just wanted some voice lessons,” she writes, but it led to a radical career change. She eventually recorded an album for Capitol Records and performed cabaret in New York City. She also worked as a character actor, receiving her first movie role in the 1999 film Birddog. As a writer, Munter shoots straight from the hip. Her self-understanding is clearly reinforced by her expertise as a clinical psychologist: “my personality was composed of both male and female characteristics—classic androgyny—when that was not mainstream or even socially acceptable.” Throughout her life, she says, she was reminded of her “outsider status” but never surrendered to convention. At one point, she describes a 20/20 interview with TV personality Geraldo Rivera in the late 1970s, in which he questioned her about a cult; she’d treated a few of its members. As Munter notes, Rivera was “known for his incisive questioning,” but when he impatiently asked her to “say something more dramatic,” she remained professional and avoided “slipping into personal invective.” She’s not one to sugarcoat an encounter, though; she also acerbically narrates that “the effluvia in his wake made it nauseatingly clear he had not had time to shower that morning.” However, the author is unafraid to turn her critical ferocity upon herself, as well. About seeing herself on the big screen for the first time, she writes, “In every neurological cell, I had hoped to be scintillating, memorable, even great. But I wasn’t.” The memoir suffers from occasional, unnecessary repetition, as when Munter twice describes how, as a teenager, she’d pretend to take a phone call from an agent in a restaurant. However, this doesn’t detract from the memoir’s inspirational portions, which urge women to realize their dreams.

A textured, sometimes-cutting remembrance of a life of remarkable achievement.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-949180-17-6

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Adelaide Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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