A flat, matter-of-fact glimpse into one woman’s joining and leaving a religious order.




Former Ursuline Sister Mary Christine explains why “irreconcilable differences” finally led to her secular life.

Writing about her years as Sister Mary Christine, YA author and teacher Pickford (Marching Through Time, 1996, etc.) attempts to answer the question she’s heard ever since she quit the cloth in 1968: “So why did you become a nun?” Her short answer? “I have no idea.” In 1959, as a 17-year-old Catholic high school graduate, she entered the Ursuline Novitiate at Blue Point, Long Island, in New York. A self-described “dateless semi-nerd,” she had notions about God’s will and the advantages of following orders from a religious superior: “Whatever happens, it’s to the good. If you mess up, then you offer that to God in humility. If you succeed, then it’s God’s will, so you can’t be puffed up about it. Either way, it’s a win-win. For me, a timid and immature person, that approach to life was like attaching training-wheels to a bike,” she says. “It took away the fear of falling and failing.” Pickford enthusiastically embraced the Ursuline sisters’ education mission, but ultimately it was not enough. “Paradoxically,” she says, “I was also naturally argumentative and strong willed.” The next period of her life, she says, “is difficult to understand even for me….I don’t have an easy answer, even after all these years.” Letters to her parents “stoked the coals of memory and prodded” her into “bright bursts of recall,” resulting in this account. Yet, as Pickford admits, the letters, like much of the memoir, contain mostly “childish, insipid sentences…devoid of feeling”—which perhaps explains the narrative distance that creeps into her account. Readers looking for a sense of passionate involvement with others or with God might be disappointed, though armchair psychiatrists could enjoy reading between the lines. There’s plenty here about everyday life as an Ursuline Sister and its stages of commitment, but those passages inadvertently highlight Pickford’s frustrating inability (or refusal) to satisfy her own or the reader’s curiosity about what for her made religion so appealing and eventually repelling.

A flat, matter-of-fact glimpse into one woman’s joining and leaving a religious order.

Pub Date: June 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1889664125

Page Count: 154

Publisher: S B P Collaboration Works

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2014

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.



A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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