Let us now celebrate body parts, in this collection of generally fine essays from talented writers. Some of the 18 authors, like Jane Smiley, Mona Simpson, and Esmeralda Santiago, have contributed to the Fiffers’ earlier collections (Home, 1995; Family, 1996). Here both writers and editors seem to be hitting their stride with this format, with commentaries diverse in both tone and subject. Eyes, brain, hair, nose, teeth, scar tissue—literally head to toe—are themes of the individual sketches that the Fiffers have coaxed into this anthology. Smiley delights in her belly, whether flat or protruding with child; cartoonist Lynda Barry believes teeth are the “music [of] the face.” There is a challenging reflection on death, rebirth, and transformation from Richard McCann, who received a liver transplant (how would Lazarus, raised from the dead, be feeling?, he wonders). Thomas Lynch takes on the womb, beginning with his Roman Catholic rosaries (“blessed is the fruit of thy womb”), although he gets it seriously wrong in equating the Immaculate Conception with the Virgin Birth. Lynch does raise the question of whether men should have a choice in acknowledging paternity, as women have the choice of terminating pregnancy. Ron Carlson offers nothing new in his reflections on the penis, but Kyoko Mori runs engagingly along on the subject of her feet. Editor Sharon Fiffer discusses how she has mentally peopled the chambers of her heart with those she loves and despises (it got so crowded, she added a few rooms), and Rosario FerrÇ joyously celebrates “The Butt” both for its sexuality and its role as purifier of inner waste. Overall a winsome compendium, suitable for bedside or seaside, where body parts can be contemplated in their (relative) nakedness.

Pub Date: June 8, 1999

ISBN: 0-380-97713-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

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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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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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