A remarkably intimate—even painfully so—picture of a year in the life of a group of Florida high-school students. Education reporter French (Unanswered Cries, 1991) spent a year in Pinellas County's Largo High School, writing an award- winning series of articles for The St. Petersburg Times. The response from both adult and teenage readers was so positive that French returned to the school to gather additional material for this book by attending classes and social events, hanging out during breaks, and interviewing students, faculty, and families. So revealing is his portrait of teenage life today that one wonders how he did it: How did he persuade these young people to open up to him not only about school, study, and their futures, but also about their home lives, loves, jealousies, intrigues, and uninhibited good times? But open up they did, and their sad, brave, hopeful, and sometimes silly stories are recounted vividly here. Among the students are bright Mike Broome, who's so angry that no one- -teachers, friends, mother, brother—can reach him, and who eventually drops out; John Boyd, whose college football scholarship is threatened when he buys a gun to defend himself against the drug-dealers in his neighborhood and who stops a bullet with his history book; Andrea Taylor, who becomes the first black homecoming queen in Largo's history; and Christine Younskevicius, one of the ``Fearsome Foursome,'' a group of high-profile young women who run the school newspaper, throw darts at a picture of the principal, and take the author on an exuberant scavenger hunt. Here are the algebra tests, the hall passes, the dances and parties—but also the class that has only one student whose parents still live together in a ``traditional'' family; the scramble for high SAT scores; and the striving to earn money, find love, and maintain equilibrium without getting pregnant or doing drugs. An exceptionally revealing—and sympathetic—journey into the isolated, high-pressure world of our teenagers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-42529-5

Page Count: 365

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1993

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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