A BOOK FOR THE GOLDEN GENERATION

BOOK ONE

Carter’s book aims to make senior citizens, especially those in nursing homes, laugh, think and live more healthily.

In this far-ranging book, Carter provides his readers with jokes, stories and essays, history lessons about Jamaica and health care tips. Although much of the information can be found on the Internet, his engaging material and simple format will appeal to older readers. Senior citizens will be amused by the jokes Carter offers, many of which are geared toward their generation and have protagonists to which they can relate. For instance, in “Did ‘Old-Timers’ Set In?,” when a friend praises the protagonist for calling his wife “darling” and “sweetheart” after 53 years of marriage, the protagonist claims his pet names are merely the result of having forgotten his wife’s name 10 years ago. The jokes are succinct and snappily written, and readers will appreciate their easy wit. Additionally, Carter provides an intriguing historical account of Jamaica, contemplating simple elements like the country’s kitchen facilities and segueing into the more complicated role of women in Jamaican society. Carter employs a fascinating metaphor of “metamorphosis in the reverse” to describe contemporary Jamaica, claiming that the “emerald isle of the Caribbean has become a loathsome haven of crime and violence,” a “loathsome caterpillar.” Most useful are the health and safety tips Carter offers (with Eunice Carter, RN) in the book’s final chapters. Those who are elderly, particularly those who may be living alone, will gain tremendously from the advice offered. This advice is broadly inclusive, alerting readers to simple measures that nevertheless can be of great assistance; for instance, the author’s claim that “floors should be of non-slip and low glare material” and readers should “never combine multiple medications in the same bottle.” The book helpfully lists symptoms for various illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, giving readers a reference to check before calling a physician, should they suspect illness. Additionally, the book offers tips to avoid illness altogether. With the wide range of topics covered, readers may wish the book included an easily referenced index. An intriguing, somewhat unwieldy, genre-defying book with much to offer senior citizens.

 

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466382923

Page Count: 198

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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