DON'T STAND TOO CLOSE TO A NAKED MAN

The spawn of Seinlanguage: shticky meditations by a stand-up comic who now stars in a top-rated television show. As Tim Taylor, Allen is the focal point of Home Improvement, but his manly-man persona plays off his wife, ``Tool Time'' cohorts, and other characters. Here we have Allen solo, closer to the stand-up mode, musing ``about many things I want to say about being a man.'' His short chapters mainly consist of riffs on his past, his humor safely in the middle American mainstream. Born Timothy Allen Dick, he learned to cope with his unusual moniker through humor and thus segues into observations genitalistic. Allen resents women saying men's cars are linked to their penises: ``What's an extension of the vagina—a purse?'' His life was transformed, he writes, by a Playboy centerfold, and he does have some wise thoughts on objectification: ``If we could have had sex with our cars and boats, it would have been a lot easier. But we'd be a smaller species.'' What should men ``look for in a gal? The answer is easy: breath.'' Allen balances such cheap laughs with some insights, suggesting that women, like men, seek glitz in a partner but eventually settle for ``the family station wagon.'' There's more: marriage, sports, and, of course, tools, leading to his innovative analysis of the impact of tool belts on butt cracks. He ends with some heartfelt sentiments on fatherhood. Allen only briefly touches on the traumas that have fueled his psyche: the death of his father in a car wreck when Tim was 11 and a prison sentence for selling drugs. (The lack of privacy in prison supplies the book's title.) More memoir and less shtick might have been a better balance here. For loyal fans, who should still be plentiful. (First printing of 500,000; first serial to TV Guide and Playboy)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 1994

ISBN: 0-7868-6134-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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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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