An energetic, candid remembrance of the compelling moments that shape a young reporter’s career.




An American in Europe plans an overland trip to India to kick-start a career in journalism in this travel memoir.

Buck’s (East, 2013, etc.) colorful autobiography serves as a sequel to her previous book and begins in 1972 as she returns to Germany after a memorable trek to Nepal. She stayed with a friend in West Berlin, an island inside of Soviet East Germany. From the elevated train, she could see the entire city, and on the platforms were intimidating East German guards. Nonetheless, she enjoyed her new friends in the metropolis and the vibrant student community. After a particularly cold winter, she secured a teaching job at an American military base in southern Germany, but her wanderlust still ran strong. Intrigued by the peaceful nature of Swedish society, she soon found herself in Stockholm and got a marvelous introduction to Scandinavian culture. Unfortunately, she could only secure menial work, though somehow she studied free at the university. It hadn’t been that long since she returned from Asia, but she realized that “sometimes a new journey begins when we least expect it.” Deciding on a future as a journalist, she threw a camera and an old Olivetti typewriter into her knapsack and set off for a return trip to India to learn about child care practices in Asia. She traveled in a VW bus driven by a man named Jürgen, and their destination was Gandhi’s ashram and, later, Goa. She was seeking to observe and report and maybe promote some cross-cultural understanding, unaware of how difficult the trip would be physically and of the looming political crisis about to grip India. As a follow-up, Buck’s journey is never a dull one, as she hops around Europe and Asia, discovering such wonders as a youth hostel on a ship in Sweden and mirrored cloth and tie-dye skirts in Rajasthan. The sights and sounds are impressive (at one point, she and Jürgen drive over the Khyber Pass), and her resourcefulness and knowledge are invaluable when traveling with limited funds. The quest to begin journalistic work evolves slowly, sometimes taking a back seat to health and travel issues. But the effort to understand other cultures with an eye toward women’s rights is vividly described.

An energetic, candid remembrance of the compelling moments that shape a young reporter’s career.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73352-200-7

Page Count: 261

Publisher: WriteWords Press

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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