The utterly absorbing story of a woman's struggle to care for her mentally ill mother, tracing the ravages of mental illness on both the sufferer and her family. Dawn Elgin, Holley's mother, a beautiful and gifted singer, was launching a career in Hollywood when she was suddenly struck down by schizophrenia in her early 20s. She was frequently hospitalized, and the author, then six years old, was sent to live with her caring, if authoritarian, great-aunt in Houston. Dawn's Christian Scientist parents and her sisters largely denied her illness; for her part, the author fantasized constantly about her mother. They were finally reunited when Holley was 11. While she hoped that Dawn would again be her glamorous old self, the reality of her mother's decline mocked such wishes: ``She wore what looked to me like baggy old-women's clothes, a bulky brown jacket and a shapeless dress . . . eyes lowered, she looked up now and then as if expecting someone to hit her.'' From adolescence on, through college, marriage (to a husband who at first knew almost nothing about mental illness), and the birth of two children, Holley struggled to find the best care for Dawn. Holley fought to keep relating to the human being, and the mother, underneath the disease that often made Dawn the prisoner of inner voices. She (and in an epilogue, her husband, a former editor of Texas Monthly) deftly teaches us a great deal about schizophrenia, particularly about the isolation, humiliation, and stigmatization the mentally ill still suffer. Yet this highly evocative, moving memoir is less about a terrible illness than it is about a highly unusual, in some ways tortured, but also tremendously strong, daughter-mother relationship. The bond is marked by ambivalence, conflict, suffering—and a daughter's impressive commitment to staying connected to, and caring for, a mother whom she has in some sense lost.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-13368-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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