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LAST UPDATE: Thursday January 29, 2015 05:10AM EST
- January 09, 2006
- Vol. 65
- No. 1
Picks and Pans: Books
From Our Staff
REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT
Readers left wondering what became of the endearing, peculiar residents of Mooreland, Ind., after the conclusion of Kimmel's breakout memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, will be delighted to learn they continued to lead lives of ordinary wonder. In this beguiling sequel, Kimmel wisecracks her way from third through eighth grade, a period during which she hones to exquisite perfection her powers of observation, her self- deprecating wit and her benevolent view of everyone but herself. During that same stretch, her mother, Delonda, finally rises from her corner of the family's flesh-colored sofa, reclaiming the academic promise she jettisoned when she married at 16. Delonda enters college, then the workforce, earning an emancipation that includes her own checking account. As in Zippy, the perspective is off-kilter, and the humor a little whacked. Of history class, Kimmel writes, “There was a possibility our teacher was legally insane, and so my respect for him was unwavering.” But there's a poignant edge, too, as Zippy, left alone by her brother's departure, her sister's marriage, her mother's career and her father's well, who knows what Bob Jarvis is up to now anxiously and comically puzzles her way through adolescence.
By Galt Niederhoffer
REVIEWED BY MARIA SPEIDEL
Film producer Niederhoffer sets this appealing story in present-day New York City the idealized metropolis of Woody Allen movies. In a Jane Austen-meets- The-Royal- Tenenbaums plot, the six sisters Barnacle are goaded into action at a Passover seder when their Darwin-obsessed father tells them his fortune will go to whoever can “immortalize the Barnacle name.” (Survival of the fittest, indeed.) Within this rarefied cocoon, Niederhoffer spins an engrossing tale of family drama and true love one that offers the pleasures of a layered, old-fashioned romance.
Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce
By Kent Nerburn
REVIEWED BY NATALIE DANFORD
Nerburn illustrates how quickly history moves when valuable land is at stake: The Nez Perce Native Americans connected to thousands of square miles in the West “like one is bound to a family” first saw white people in 1805. By 1877, the charismatic Joseph and 800 fellow Nez Perce had been forced from their homeland and herded towards a distant reservation in today's Washington state. Nerburn deftly records a dark chapter of forced diaspora and forgotten promises one as engrossing as a novel.
Something for Everyone
Every Person on the Planet by Bruce Eric Kaplan A charming illustrated tale for grown-ups about a neurotic couple who throw a holiday party and guilt-trip themselves into inviting … every person on the planet.
Queens Reigns Supreme by Ethan Brown In his captivating and controversial debut, Brown documents the links between the drug-running kingpins of Queens, N.Y., in the' 80s to the hip-hop impresarios who later paid them tribute.
Mencken: The American Iconoclast by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers The definitive bio of the caustic writer's writer who called puritanism “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.”
The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr An elegant true story, meticulously researched, of Italian art detectives tracking a missing work by Caravaggio.
The Grace That Keeps This World by Tom Bailey A compelling first novel about love and rivalry in the Adirondacks builds toward a shattering con clusion.
Shuffling to Ignominy: The Tragedy of Stepin Fetchit, by Champ Clark The People correspondent explores the 48-year-long career of African-American movie star Lincoln Perry, who died in 1985.
January 28, 2015
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