A debut novel built from a one-line premise: porn-shop worker finds dead Navy chaplain in a stall, assumes his identity, boards ship, let the fun begin. Miles Derry is a down-and-out, recovering drug user and alcoholic who mops the floor in a pornography arcade. His life has been a string of failures: he has disappointed his family, himself, and yearns for his daughter, Kari, who lives beyond his reach in the Midwest. On a fateful night, Miles finds the body of James Banquette, a Navy chaplain, toppled over in a stall, and notices a remarkable physical resemblance between himself and the expired cleric. The uniform also fits perfectly. So, after burning the shop and the body in it, Derry is off for the USS Warren Harding, bound for East Asia and filled with old salts, hard-asses, frightened recruits, you get the picture. (One lusty civilian math teacher, Robin in the tight shorts, adds spicy sexual intrigue.) The ship makes its way to the Philippines and, later, to Okinawa, both of them sexual emporia for the brazenly post-pubescent crew. Having witnessed a military mishap that incinerates a Philippine village and its inhabitants, Derry walks blandly through the tragedy of it all. He receives a homoerotic letter from a fellow priest, and begins a comforting correspondence with the widow Banquette, Michelle, who knows nothing of her husband’s death. In an unlikely series of contrived events, Miles/James saves a life, is nominated for the Navy Cross, and finds possible, lasting love with Michelle. But through it all—the beatings, the sex, the acronyms peppering the text—Derry is unmoved as a character. The possibly engaging dramas of the self (the assumed identity, the self as a role one plays, e.g.) are only vaguely explored. The opening situation is a cliché (the priest’s gay) that provides entry to an unamusing recital of experiences odd, often brutal, and ultimately inert to the main character, if not to the reader.

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-019365-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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