In lyrical and immediate prose (he employs the present tense throughout) Price describes a lovely, proud, impoverished...

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PITCHING AROUND FIDEL

A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF CUBAN SPORTS

A senior writer at Sports Illustrated presents an impressionistic analysis of the primacy of sports in Cuban culture.

In a volume that is as much cultural anthropology as sports writing, Price examines a Cuba that remains obsessed with the considerable achievements of its principal athletes despite pervasive poverty and increasing numbers of defectors who flee to the US in search of riches. Price visited the island many times and here assembles a pleasant patchwork that adheres only incidentally to chronology. Beginning with the March 1998 signing by the New York Yankees of Cuban phenom Orlando `El Duque` Hernandez (`the best pitcher in modern Cuban history`), Price then moves back and forth in time, attempting to discover why Cuba remains `one of the last places where athletes play for little more than love of the game.` Along the way he manages to interview some of Cuba’s greatest athletic heroes, including former Olympic standouts Teofilo Stevenson (boxing) and Alberto Juantorena (track), and baseball greats Lazaro Valle (a talented pitcher on the downside of his career) and Jose Ramon Cabrera (a first baseman who fell from grace in a Black Sox-like scandal). Among the most touching episodes are Price’s encounters with the Olympic middle-distance runner Ana Quirot, who, though disfigured in a kitchen fire in 1993, returned to win a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics. She has become such an inspiration to Cubans than some fans merely `touch her shoulders and start to cry.` But these are not traditional Q&A interviews. Price encounters athletes in the streets, meets them in restaurants, goes to their homes, bar-hops across Havana with them. He also explodes the persistent canard that Castro was a talented pitcher.

In lyrical and immediate prose (he employs the present tense throughout) Price describes a lovely, proud, impoverished people caught in repressive system that destroys thousands as it celebrates a handful.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-019660-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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