GETTING HIGH

THE ADVENTURES OF OASIS

A little over 30 years ago, England gave the world the Kinks— a band founded by two brothers who couldn't stand each other. Now England has given us Oasis, led by Noel and Liam Gallagher, who are equally belligerent if not slightly more complex. Hewitt tracks the band's history from the Gallaghers' childhood in Manchester with a sadistic father (he begrudged them even Christmas gifts, according to his wife), countless soccer matches, and petty crime, to overnight success, the downside of fame, and mounds of cocaine and oceans of alcohol. While Hewitt's treatment of Oasis is innovatively nonlinear, bouncing back and forth between 1960s Manchester and 1990s London and concerts (Hewitt accompanied the band on tour), and he writes in the colorful vernacular of the Gallaghers' hometown, his preference for Noel is obvious. The reader gets the impression that the guitarist/songwriter is a reborn Coleridge—equal parts Romantic poet and drug devotee—while his brother, singer Liam, is unwashed and downright simian. But as Hewitt demonstrates, the two found each other indispensable—they alternately stormed out of the band only to return. Hewitt has a very strong sense of Oasis's roots- -probably from having written Beat Concerto: The Story of the Jam (not reviewed), on one of Noel's primary influences. And Getting High is at its best when recounting such serendipitous events as Noel meeting the only displaced Irishman from northern England more famous than himself—Paul McCartney. However, his lax treatment of Oasis's drug use smacks of tacit approval; Hewitt could have been equally descriptive without glamorizing the Gallaghers' lapses. Still, Hewitt finally proves his thesis that ``if Oasis was just Liam, they would never have been signed, they would have threatened to self destruct. If Oasis was just Noel, they would have never reached the heights they have.'' (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-7868-8228-X

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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