February 7, 2011 |
By his own admission, Michael Oher preferred to observe rather than participate in social settings when he was a young man. In fact, his silence was so disconcerting to social workers in Memphis, Tenn., he says, that it was misdiagnosed as repressed rage, and he was locked up in a hospital for observation. Oher's reticence left it to others to tell his story ? of a black child in Memphis' inner city who was neglected by his mother and essentially had no place to call home but ultimately blossomed when a rich, white family took him in and introduced him to the twin satisfactions of athletic and academic achievement.
January 11, 2012 |
Hope is easier to embrace than reality. That is one of the themes of Jodi Kantor's new book, "The Obamas," which tells the story of the first couple's arrival in the White House and their subsequent struggles to adapt to Washington and its ways while facing expectations that may have been equaled only in the early days of John F. Kennedy's Camelot. Kantor's account of the Obamas' first weeks in the capital is a reminder of a euphoria that seems very far away today, as the president continues to grapple with a tepid economy and the lock step Republican opposition to almost every facet of his agenda.
August 7, 2010 |
I'm of two minds about whether "Savages," Don Winslow's marvelous, adrenaline-juiced roller coaster of a novel, is a rookie reader's best introduction to his work. There's a delicious sense of satisfaction in seeing how Winslow has chiseled his increasingly lean prose to diamond-like precision over the course of 12 novels and fused the themes of "The Power of the Dog" (2005), his epic account of the country's never-ending war on drugs, with the razzmatazz syntax of his surf-detective novel "The Dawn Patrol" (2008)
September 13, 2011 |
Film producer Simon Lewis was driving down Beverly Boulevard with his wife in 1994 when their car was broadsided by a van traveling at about 75 mph. Lewis, then 35, had seen his biggest success with "Look Who's Talking," a comedy about a chatty baby starring John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and the voice of Bruce Willis. But after this accident his life would never be the same. An hour after emergency workers reached the scene of the accident - the car had spun through the air and smashed into a tree - they found the bloodied Lewis and were surprised to discover he had a pulse.
June 26, 2011 |
Good Neighbors A Novel Ryan David Jahn Penguin: 280 pp., $15 paper How fair is it to hold a novel to actual events? It's a question I kept asking as I read Ryan David Jahn's first book, "Good Neighbors" (published in England as "Acts of Violence" in 2009), based on the notorious murder of Kitty Genovese, the Queens, N.Y., bar manager stabbed to death early on the morning of March 13, 1964, outside her Kew Gardens building. Although the attack continued, with a break, for 30 minutes, only one of the people who witnessed it from their apartments — 38 of them, according to an iconic New York Times story that ran two weeks after the killing — did anything to help.