Poor Doris—to have a biographer who begins his narrative, ``I never loved my godmother, Doris Duke. I doubt if anyone, other than her father, Buck Duke, ever really loved her.'' At one time considered the third richest woman in the world, after the queens of England and the Netherlands, Doris Duke counted her assets in billions and her yearly income in millions. She died—some say was helped to die—in October 1993 at the age of 81, leaving her butler, Bernard Lafferty, as executor of her estate. A hard-drinking Irishman who is rumored to have ``arisen for breakfast wearing some of his mistress's most expensive silk and satin flowing robes and nightclothes,'' Lafferty was soon pushed out by family and other interests, who are still squabbling over the will. That wouldn't surprise Duke, who learned to beat away fortune hunters from the time she was 12 years old and inherited her father's tobacco wealth. Coauthored by Duke's cousin/godson and by novelist and journalist Thomas, this book revels in excess; genuine tragedies mingle indiscriminately and repetitiously with nights at Studio 54, and secret generosity with public scandal. Following her father's death, Duke became a much-publicized debutante, the Princess Di of the Depression, and the press was to follow her marriages and affairs with glee over subsequent decades. Her celebrated lovers included Hawaiian swimming star Duke Kahanamoku, Errol Flynn, Gen. George Patton, and the legendarily endowed (measurements are provided) Porfirio Rubirosa, her second husband. A deliberately terminated advanced pregnancy led her to fantasize about the daughter, Arden, that might have been and ultimately to adopt a woman, Chandi Heffner, whom Duke believed to be the reincarnation of Arden. Eventually ousted from Duke's life, Heffner later sued for a share of the estate. Coarse and clichÇd biography of another poor little rich girl, whose passions were orchids, animals, jazz, and sex, not necessarily in that order. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-017218-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1995

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



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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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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