An upbeat woman’s astonishingly frank weight-loss-journal-cum-how-to-manual replete with binges and guilt, personal victories and discouraging setbacks, embarrassing moments, and ultimate success. With her 50th birthday on the horizon, freelance writer Dalka-Prysby, eager to slim down from an unhealthy 310 pounds (her all-time high had been 325), enlisted the aid of Family Circle editors in her campaign to shed her “mountain of fat.” They not only featured her story in a series of articles beginning with the January 1994 issue, but also arranged television appearances on the Maury Povich Show and the QVC shopping network. For her part, Dalka-Prysby hired a nutritionist to help her with an eating plan and a stop-smoking campaign. A local health club gave her a free membership and a trainer to oversee her exercise program, plus her own exercise class for overweight women (WOWS, for Work Out With Sandra). With this kind of support (and pressure), success might seem assured, but Dalka-Prysby’s tale is one of hard work and determination. She recorded her progress or sometimes her lack of it in a diary, excerpts of which make up a large portion of the present work. Her shame after scarfing down an entire Sara Lee cake and her joy when finally able to cross her legs or bend over and tie her own shoes will resonate with readers who’ve been there. Interspersed among the journal entries are straightforward how-to advice, the author’s thoughts on such issues as sabotage and self-esteem, and a few letters between her and the cloying Richard Simmons, who was brought in to jump-start her progress when it stalled after the first two years. Countering quick-weight-loss schemes and fad-diet promotions, Dalka-Prysby’s message is a sane one: slow and steady wins the race. A motivational read, full of good advice, yet funny too.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-385-49217-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

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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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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