Randall was 24 when told that he—d be blinded by severe glaucoma before he turned 30. Four years later, he became the first American to gain access to marijuana for medical purposes; two decades later, he found the drug would also support his fight against AIDS. This sometimes strident account tells how, for 20 years, Randall struggled to secure marijuana as a medication through sundry legal/political machinations. He and his co-author O’Leary’s saga began in 1973 when Randall discovered, while smoking marijuana just for fun, that the glaucoma-related tri-colored rings obscuring his vision had disappeared. A search of the medical literature revealed the suggestion that marijuana could indeed return dangerously high intraocular pressures (caused by glaucoma) to normal levels, thereby relieving visual disturbances. In 1975, however, Randall and O’Leary were arrested for growing marijuana in their Washington, D.C., apartment. As they point out here, there were advantages to being arrested in the nation’s capital: Sources of medical and legal information and assistance were abundant. Randall duly made the rounds of agencies and organizations, looking for lawyers and doctors to take on the government drug regulators: the FDA, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, et al. Recounting these sorties, Randall and O—Leary (who together co- founded a medical marijuana advocacy group) at times make querulous guides (for instance, thoroughly dissing a National Eye Institute administrator: “It was his incredibly rude manner, his abrupt disingenuousness that was so distasteful”) and pull no punches, naming names throughout. Yet the authors also score telling points: The evidence persuasively suggests that smoking marijuana can treat glaucoma effectively and can relieve nausea and increase appetite in people being treated for cancer and AIDS. An eccentric story, but timely and ultimately worthwhile. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56025-166-2

Page Count: 528

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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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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