A heartfelt cautionary tale for women of child-bearing age.




In this memoir, a romance novelist recounts the most painful experience in her life: the loss of a baby who lived but a few hours after his premature birth.

Castille (Make It Reign, 2018, etc.), whom readers meet in the book as Renee Johnson, learned she was seven to eight weeks pregnant when she visited her doctor’s office two weeks after having a Pap smear performed. It was a routine test, but she had been bleeding ever since the procedure. A few days later, the bleeding became more severe, and her best friend, Miah Hunter, brought her to the emergency room, where the doctor determined she had suffered “a threatened miscarriage.” Still, the baby appeared to be fine, with a strong heartbeat. This was the beginning of what would be a harrowing and traumatic time. The bleeding continued, and her pregnancy hormone level was dropping, plus she was losing amniotic fluid. The medical professionals kept track of the symptoms, but apparently did not know what was causing them. Nonetheless, the author was determined to give the tiny fetus a chance to make it. The mother of three daughters, she was estranged from her husband and had custody only of her youngest child, Leigh. Her home was already bursting at the seams—she was housing her sister, Katherine, and her two children, and Hunter was also living with her. The memoir, written in the style—and with the drama—of a novel, vividly portrays the stress and chaos of the author’s path through this unexpected, high-risk pregnancy. Here, she wants to raise an issue she claims the doctors’ seemed determined to ignore: “There is nothing that anyone, anywhere can tell me to convince me that the Pap smear I had the day before I began bleeding and never stopped, was not a trigger in a series of events that eventually led to” the loss of the baby. Despite occasionally careless prose—“He sauntered into the room, still wearing the surgical scrubs and poufy had he had dawned to perform another C-Section earlier”—the narrative is compelling.

A heartfelt cautionary tale for women of child-bearing age.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-71815-705-7

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2019

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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