ON MY OWN AT 107

REFLECTIONS ON LIFE WITHOUT BESSIE

From Sadie, the surviving Delany sister, an inspiriting testimony to love and faith as she recalls life with Bessie and the challenge of learning to live on without her. With coauthor Hearth, who first brought the remarkable African-American Delany sisters to public attention in 1993 with their bestselling memoir Having Our Say, Sadie now describes the year following Bessie's death in September 1995. The two had been together since their distant childhood in North Carolina and all through the long remaining years in New York. As the older sister by two years, she never expected to survive Bessie: ``It doesn't seem natural that I outlived you . . . learning that I am a separate human being . . . for the first time in my life.'' But in the months ahead, Sadie does learn how to endure on her own and how to find pleasure in living. Summoning up the same religious faith that carried her through the worst excesses of Jim Crow legislation, she offers her memories of Bessie, and the conviction that Bessie is in heaven with their parents as a consolation for her grief. She punctuates her account of the passing year with comments on the flowers Bessie loved and cultivated in her garden, comforting quotations from the Bible, and what she's learned about life: ``To make the best of life, to keep trying, no matter what.'' But the same zest that made the sisters centenarian celebrities also enables Sadie to make a fulfilling life on her own. She starts writing this book, educates the young about the past, gives a party to celebrate Bessie's birthday, and is honored in turn on her 107th birthday. By the year's end, she's busy and content: ``Don't worry about me, Sister Bessie. Child, I've got plans.'' A bracing reminder from an exemplary teacher that life, a rare gift, must be savored in the living. (illustrations, not seen) ($150,000 ad/promo; TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-251485-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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