An often engaging portrayal of a remarkable African-American woman.



Landry (Alive with Passion and Purpose, 2009) and Boye (Prophetic Intern, 2013) tell the true story of Effie Jones, prophetess and evangelist.

Born in Baxter, La., in the early 20th century, Effie was one of five children in an African-American sharecropper’s family. Her mother, with whom she was especially close, died of tuberculosis when Effie was 7, leaving her lonely. Things got even worse when an unloving stepmother entered their family. Effie’s hours in the fields mainly profited her white boss, so she also made crossties for the railroad to make extra money, and she was outperforming the men by the time she was 17. She married Jimmy, the first of six husbands, to break away from her family and her job, and this began an odyssey that took her from place to place, and from man to man, as she tried to escape abuse and unhappiness. She eventually moved west, to California, in an attempt to start over. Throughout her life, Effie said that she was visited by spirits and angels who saved her more than once, and she never lost her faith in God despite her hardships. Effie’s touching, engrossing tale is aimed at a Christian audience that may see her experiences as parables, but it may please other readers as well—particularly those who are interested in the lives of African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Her later relationship with Boye offers a clear portrait of Effie in old age, but Boye has a story of her own, which includes divorced parents and an alcoholic grandmother. However, her story is less compelling than Effie’s, and some readers may wonder why the authors chose to move the spotlight away from Effie at all. Boye’s questions and promptings to Effie lead to asides and explanations that are sometimes helpful, but they’re more often unnecessary, and may pull readers out of the mood created by Effie’s fine storytelling voice.

An often engaging portrayal of a remarkable African-American woman.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0578123615

Page Count: 468

Publisher: Scott Cornelius Design & Photography

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2014

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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