CRUEL SHOES

When it comes to humor, it's the printed page that separates the men—like Woody Allen—from the boys. . . like Steve Martin. Without the Martin stand-up persona to project them, these 50 or so mini-pieces mostly fall flat—and the lack of variety is numbing. Stories, poems, anecdotes, jokes; whatever the form, nearly all of these bits are based on a single comic notion: deadpan, mildly absurdist parody. So: "How to Fold Soup." Or pseudo-existentialist parables. Or: "Dr. Fitzbee's Lucky Astrology Diet." Or parodies of artsy poetry, pompous art criticism, or the literati—all of which have been done better before, often in college humor magazines. And, without Martin's sneakily subversive all-American demeanor (his only inspired joke), one can't make much of a selection that reads in entirety: "La la loo de doo. . . . Oh gawsh. . . . Hey, buddy. . . . Hey, cumon back. . . . la la la la. . . . Dime fa a cuwa coffa? Hey. . . . la la la." Budding comics may want to use this book to find out if they have what it takes to read these whimsies aloud in a way that makes them funny—and Martin's young fans, who don't understand what most of the jokes are about, will probably enjoy it most. (Their parents, however, may not be pleased with some of the stuff here that could never be heard on TV).

Pub Date: June 15, 1979

ISBN: 0517330806

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1979

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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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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