Delightful, well-written, with a propulsive plot. My son appreciated the fact that Beatrice and Mullet weren't "cut-out characters," and I appreciatedDelightful, well-written, with a propulsive plot. My son appreciated the fact that Beatrice and Mullet weren't "cut-out characters," and I appreciated the fact that Hiaasen's depiction of family life was not from a June Cleaver wonderland. Some not-so-good family life was depicted here, as well as a gentle introduction to the sad fact that corporate bad behavior exists. My son devoured this, as did I. We'll be checking out Hiaasen's other YA books. ...more
I'm a contributor to this book, which features digested social issue/political journalism from the early-to-mid 'aughts. Floored to have been includedI'm a contributor to this book, which features digested social issue/political journalism from the early-to-mid 'aughts. Floored to have been included with some of these remarkable authors. I did see a review that docked this collection a star because the journalists didn't suggest solutions--I can understand that desire, but that's not how journalism works. As journalists, our job is to document a problem, to shine a light on something that has been in the shadows, and to inspire others to come up with solutions. If journalists got into the solutions game, they'd cease being journalists and become advocates. This violates one of the foundational tenets of journalism. ...more
What I appreciate so much about this lovely book is that it touches on subjects that I find myself handling right now as they come up--for example, geWhat I appreciate so much about this lovely book is that it touches on subjects that I find myself handling right now as they come up--for example, gender roles, the presence and validity of the LGBT people in our communities, the fact that relationships can be with men or women or individuals who don't identify as either. What's wonderful about kids growing up at this time is that this information is not shocking or hard to understand. I feel intensely grateful that I live at a time, and in a place, where the concept of gay or lesbian relationships do not strike my child as strange. In fact, what confuses him is that there are still many people who find them not only strange, but troubling, and want to prevent people who love each other from creating legally recognized partnerships.
I'm being far more specific and preachy about this topic than this book does--in fact, it's really a gentle breeze that runs through the book. Other topics broached, and again, with a very light touch, are crushes/relationships, "secret touching" (used to be called good touch/bad touch), masturbation, words associated with sex, and so on. It utilizes four "characters" who represent fairly fluid categories of individuals: for the most part, their sexuality is ambiguous.
I do wish there had been more specificity. There was no discussion of the mechanics of sex, nor was there any discussion of "sex words" beyond the word "sexy." There was some discussion of sexual organs (described in this book as "middle parts," which I thought was nice--any part of the body can be private, the author argues), but nothing clinical. The illustrations served to show that body parts can look markedly different from person to person, from age to age, which actually can come as a surprise in this time of standardized and totally unachieveable standards of beauty. My son and I laughed at several of the illustrated scenes, and we found the use of question marks and exclamation marks to convey a character's sense of befuddlement or shock really endearing. This book doesn't really explain what sex is, but it provides parents a really low-key way to reinforce the ideas of trust, justice, joy, and respect in the context of all kinds of relationships, sexual and otherwise, as well as an easy way to introduce LGBT "acceptance" or "understanding," which is still in short supply....more
Adored. Mckenzie is a top-tier American writer who wears her enormous intellect lightly and has written a truly original, funny book. This is a go-toAdored. Mckenzie is a top-tier American writer who wears her enormous intellect lightly and has written a truly original, funny book. This is a go-to recommendation for me....more
I'm biased, because I consider Prince a complex, unknowable genius. But he deserved better than this Variety article in book form. The last image, theI'm biased, because I consider Prince a complex, unknowable genius. But he deserved better than this Variety article in book form. The last image, the last scene of this book, captures its suspicious lack of depth and its utter inability to capture any of Prince's nuances, the technical genius of the members of the Revolution, and the intriguing machinations of the making of Purple Rain: the author recounts a moment in a club with Prince, in 1994, in which the superstar orders both of them "a glass of port" and makes a toast. I'm sure this is possible, but most fans know that Prince never touched alcohol. He even forbid it from his tour buses, from Paisley Park, from any club where he'd tour. Perhaps he hadn't gotten quite so "dry" in 1994, but still: The Sinatra feel to this last, summary image of Prince only underscores how Light misapprehends Prince and the making of Purple Rain. There's so little detail on the actual making of the film that I found it maddening to read. Do I really need Adam Levine and Darius Rucker's hot takes on Prince? Does he really think Chanhassen is "rural"? I imagine Toure's book on Prince may offer more insight. Flew through it because the prose was undemanding....more
Frank Bures has been a widely respected journalist for years. In the geeky world of journalists and nonfiction writers, he is particularly admired forFrank Bures has been a widely respected journalist for years. In the geeky world of journalists and nonfiction writers, he is particularly admired for his wide-ranging journalistic interests and his skill as an interviewer and reporter. It is my privilege to be among his colleagues and friends, and have watched the evolution of this book for a couple of years now. (Although, like all good passions, this book has been years in the making). As a narrator, Bures is sensitive, insightful, and unwilling to make broad assumptions and assertions. The narrative frame here is a personal journey--trying to understand so-called "culture-bound syndromes" while also understanding his own obsession with the very idea of these syndromes. At its heart, this book explores the very idea of what constitutes illness--both mental and physical--and forces the reader to confront his or her own preconceived notions. For anyone who has experienced culture shock, and whose life has been changed by that collision, Bures' experience will feel familiar. But he takes it farther by trying to get to the heart of the elements of the cultures he's explored which have shocked him. And, in fact, he may even force you to consider the idea that culture itself doesn't exist. At least not how it's been defined.
Unrelated to the book, I do have to say this: several other readers here have had the audacity to "review" the book and put it on their "read" shelf despite reading only a single chapter. Sorry, but you do no get to put a book on your "read" shelf if you only read the first chapter. The act of passing judgment publicly on a book that you have not read is dishonest, unethical, and frankly appalling. I happen to know how much work it takes to report on and write a book because I am also a writer--and the thought that someone would feel qualified to analyze and publicly review a book based on a handful of pages sickens me. If I'd stopped reading East of Eden after ten pages, I would've assumed the book was plodding and boring. And I consider it a masterpiece.
If you don't like a book, you have every right to let fellow readers know that. But if you're negatively "reviewing" a book you haven't read, then you are dishonest. This deception is widespread on Goodreads, and I wish there were some way to crack down on it. That kind of thing is not the act of a true reader. ...more
Four stars merely for the fact that we desperately need this book, and we desperately need an outspoken, brutally honest ob/gyn who will speak bluntlyFour stars merely for the fact that we desperately need this book, and we desperately need an outspoken, brutally honest ob/gyn who will speak bluntly about the insanity, the existential sickness, that is modern mothering. I'm speaking specifically of those early years, when all of us mothers are a little insane. God knows I was one of them. I never abandoned science or reason, thank god, but I sure as hell got all worked up about things that, in retrospect, I needn't have. I was one of those mothers, for example, who was determined to breastfeed my children no matter how difficult it was, no matter how painful, no matter that I was unable to shower for the first six months of my children's lives (just kidding about that last part--sort of). And I did, until each child self-weaned around 12 months of age. But I was in agony for most of the process. I tried cloth diapers, I only did organics, I wouldn't let my mother use Johnson & Johnson because it had parabens. I turned myself into a pretzel trying to dodge all the "dangers" that seemed to be everywhere. Only later, and a little wiser, do I realize I'd been sold a bill of goods by the natural parenting mafia.
There was one saving grace in all this--my completely interiority, my social awkwardness, and my desire *not* to mingle with other mothers (at least the mothers I didn't know before they had children--my old friends were cool). And so I was mostly insulated from this weird competitive jijitsu that Dr. Tuteur chronicles in this book. Still, because I'm a vaccine advocate in my spare time, I am so aware of this world--the natural parenting world, that seems to encompass anti-vaccine views as well. That's why I was a very receptive audience for this book. And on to the book. The message is stellar and refreshing. Dr. Tuteur's breaks down the non-science of lactivists' claims about how formula is evil compared to breast milk (only in developing countries where the water supply is compromised can this even approach truth), about insane ideas promulgated by non-certified midwives that children face lifelong disadvantages if born by caesarean. She turns her eye toward the dangers of home birth, a choice that proponents paint as risk-free when, in fact, it's hugely risky and typically attended by individuals with zero medical education. The strongest parts of this book, in my opinion, are the latter chapters that deal with the truly troubling socioeconomic implications of the natural parenting movement. It is a movement that is overwhelmingly made up of white, wealthy women who eschew science in favor of "gut feelings" and whose unwitting and casual racism of glamorizing "primitive birth practices" without acknowledging the devastating health disparities that result in high maternal and infant mortality are profoundly disturbing. It really resonated with me, because one of the most reprehensible aspects of the modern anti-vaccine movement in the United States and Australia is its utter disregard for children in the developing world, who desperately need vaccines in order to, you know, stay alive. Another fascinating aspect that I knew nothing about was that the natural parenting philosophy came out of fundamentalist Christian principles, in order to keep the newly liberated woman at home with her child. Yikes.
Structurally, the book is choppy and repetitive--sometimes phrases are repeated verbatim. Some of this clearly is emphasis, but other times it simply felt exhausting. I believe this could have been handled in editorial discussions. I'm not sure why it wasn't--perhaps it was, and the advice was ignored (hey, I'm an editor--sometimes writers self-sabotage). Another minor point was that I don't think she did enough to differentiate between certified nurse-midwives (CNM--CNMs work in hospitals and both my kids were delivered by one) and "professional nurse midwives." She does mention the difference early on the book, but only once or twice. In a book that tears midwives to shreds, I do think that differentiation should be hammered home a bit more.
I also thought that there was a little nuance missing, and I only mention this because there may be some expectant parents who can be convinced to leave the birthing pools behind but who may need a little handholding. Dr. Tuteur is not here to hold anyone's hand, and while I really admire that about her, I do worry that this relegates the book to the preaching-to-the-choir shelf. After years of vaccine advocacy, and battling anti-vaxxers, I have come to realize that there is a large portion of the parenting population who are on the fence, and can be coaxed over to the side of science and reason, but they won't hop over if we yell at them. I might have modulated the tone just a touch here--and only a touch, because the outrage is powerful and warranted--to more strongly emphasize Dr. Tuteur's empathy for the mothers caught up in this nonsense. And I know she has that empathy--it's why she wrote the book and why she takes the endless amounts of abuse she does online.
Her most important message, in my mind, is that women should have no shame whatsoever about how they gave birth and whether they feed their children with a bottle or their own breast. They should, however, trust science, not gut feelings or platitudes from midwives, and they should do what is right for them. It's telling that Dr. Tuteur's book is going against the grain in this respect. We so need this book....more
Got better as it went along, but could have used some tighter revision. Too enamored, at times, with the created world, to the point of exhausting repGot better as it went along, but could have used some tighter revision. Too enamored, at times, with the created world, to the point of exhausting repetition. Found the sex scene told from Lucy's perspective unconvincing, bordering on ridiculous, but writing well about sex is exquisitely difficult. But as the book went on I appreciated the way the narrative ramped up and the threads came together. There was propulsion to the narrative once it knew what it was supposed to be doing, and I found myself strangely connected to Angel, who was easily the most complex character in the book. Violence against women is realism but that doesn't mean that relying upon it in a work of literature isn't a trope. I mean, there's a woman in this book who ends up in a cage and loses several fingers to hyenas kept almost as pets by a drugpin. An eagle-eyed editor would have removed at least 20 "peddling ass" instances and come up with something different--a synonym? Same goes for "icy." Stuff like this--overreliance on certain phrases--is totally normal in an early draft, but should be edited out by the final manuscript. All that being said, I have a lot of respect for what Bacigalupi did here, the level of research I believe this required, and his concern with the real-life consequences of climate change. We need more of this kind of fiction, though I hope it doesn't always have to be a la Mad Max....more