A palpable and invigorating book mapping one woman’s lifelong efforts to discover her own sexual identity through...

Going to Wings

A debut memoir charts conflicts of sexuality and faith and the longing for companionship.

The book opens in 1975 with Worsham rereading a letter she wrote to her mother confessing to a romantic relationship with another woman: “Mama, I have been in touch with Ellen again.” Dealing with an unfulfilling marriage to her husband, Harvill, the author experienced a sexual and psychic revelation when she started a surreptitious affair with another female teacher at her high school. But to her husband and mother, “I was a sick person with something disgusting, something like leprosy, something with sores that eat away at your body, something that eats you from the inside out.” Once their relationship was discovered, Worsham was threatened with institutionalization and forced to break it off. She divorced Harvill and began pursuing platonic friendships with other women. One was with an older woman who offered copies of Proust’s books and shared exotic tales from abroad, helping to expand Worsham’s worldview beyond her conservative Georgia town. But after her friend self-destructed (due to alcoholism), Worsham turned to her church choir and teaching life to guide her. Later, another woman, named Teeny, provided a meaningful platonic bond, one that made Worsham realize that her sexual orientation need not solely define her. Given the two friends’ closeness, many townsfolk suspected that they were lovers. Eventually, after enjoying several nonsexual bonds with other women, Worsham came out, finding solidarity in a lesbian group that met at a local restaurant called Wings. The memoir proves to be a rich and insightful account into the struggles that many members of the LGBT community face in navigating the heavy emotional terrain of faith, loneliness, and self-acceptance (“I thought that I, not other people, should be the one to decide my own sexual orientation,” Worsham writes). This is mostly owed to the way the author so deeply mines her own emotional history while simultaneously weaving religious references—such as “the Telling” for when she outs herself to her mother, as though the experience is a kind of biblical parable—to signal the many momentous rites of passage LGBT community members experience in their own journeys of self-discovery. Vividly interrogating these themes, this lesbian-specific memoir is a very welcome addition to the genre.

A palpable and invigorating book mapping one woman’s lifelong efforts to discover her own sexual identity through Christianity and friendship. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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