A somewhat-scattered but engagingly nostalgic showbiz remembrance.


Bolt’s debut memoir captures the life and loves of a woman who set off to Hollywood with a dream to meet Burt Reynolds and became a stuntwoman.

In Decatur, Illinois, “The Soybean Capital of the World,” a young Bolt struggled after her parents’ divorce. As she came of age, she began to learn how to take care of herself due to her father’s quick temper and her mother’s mental illness. While living with her dad and frequenting Decatur’s pubs alongside him, the junior high schooler became attracted to his adult friend Jerry. Bolt’s narration goes on to reflect her development from a sharp yet naïve child to a rebellious, stubborn teen. A high school dropout at 16, Bolt succeeded at driving solo to California with nothing but a borrowed Eagles eight-track tape, a giant stuffed frog, and $250 in her pocket. She worked the graveyard shift at a 7-Eleven to take advantage of opportunities as a movie extra during the day. Along the way, Bolt navigated the seedy world of auditions, headshots, and casting scams but ended up discovering a passion for stunts. Driven by a dream to star in a movie with movie star Reynolds, Bolt dexterously juggled her priorities while also figuring out where she stood when it came to her impassioned relationship with a married cop. In this debut memoir, Bolt offers a poignant, dynamic, and charming tale of love. As it rolls along, she offers anecdotes that may make some readers nostalgic for the Hollywood of decades past. At one point, she points out that her third grade teacher wrote on the girl’s report card, “Catches on slowly, but then understands well,” which will also likely apply to readers of the memoir, as paragraph by paragraph, the author’s narrative threads don’t seem to immediately and obviously tie together. But although her tales seem a tad disjointed at times, they do satisfyingly weave themselves together in the end. (Includes black-and-white and color family photos.)

A somewhat-scattered but engagingly nostalgic showbiz remembrance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73402-795-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2020

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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