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Profile for Eileen Macdougall > Reviews

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Content by Eileen Macdougall
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Reviews Written by
Eileen Macdougall "cootmom" (Wilmington, MA USA)

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Every Time I Talk to Liston: A Novel
Every Time I Talk to Liston: A Novel
by Brian DeVido
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.85

5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to love (or even like) boxing...., June 22 2004 appreciate this straightforward and well told story. The characters' outward actions and innnermost thoughts are both profound and entertaining. In the background is scary Sonny Liston and his heroic wife - who knew that Liston could be made to be so sympathetic?
The plot progresses along at a good pace, with chapters designated as "Round 1" "Round 2", etc - very clever.
Thoroughly enjoyable!

Those Who Save Us: A Novel
Those Who Save Us: A Novel
by Jenna Blum
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 27.74

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt add to the Holocaust bookshelf - with a difference, June 1 2004
The difference is that this novel is told from the perspectives of both a "good German" and a survivor's child. The intertwining of the two tales is remarkable. Other strong pluses are the portrayal of life in a frozen Minnesota landscape, as well as the totally realistic explorations of the complex role which having the upper hand plays in relationships between lovers and between parent and child. A most satisfying ending is also rare these days!
This is a book to own, cherish, and reread.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier
The Dive From Clausen's Pier
by Ann Packer
Edition: Audio Cassette
9 used & new from CDN$ 28.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Scarlett's savvy, April 30 2004
The audio version of this novel is entrancing due to a combination of fine writing and Scarlett Johansson's scratchy sexy interpretation, perfect for the character of Carrie.

Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference
Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference
by Mark Edmundson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.92
58 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Malcolm X in Muffa!, April 2 2004
"High school is, one fears, where ultimate identity is conferred. For it is here that, for the last time in life probably, people will pull back and tell you, or at least demonstrate in no unmistakeable terms, what they truly think about you."
"Teacher" is a sought after but rarely found gem to which I can relate on almost every level. I know there is something for every reader in it. For me, it works even more effectively as both a memoir and a portrait of an era than as a tribute to an inspirational teacher.
I graduated from high school in 1970 and lived through and enjoyed the hell out of those times of political upheaval and the Age of Aquarius. I read "Malcolm X" and "Soul on Ice". When some Weathermen (the most radical faction of SDS) came to convert us, they warned us that all music except the Stones "Beggars Banquet" was counterrevolutionary.
I loved The Incredible String Band and recently managed to find some of their songs to download, though my 16 year old daughter cringes when I play them.
I graduated from Grahm Junior College in Boston, where Mark's friend Dubby played hockey (and where Andy Kaufman was our most famous alumna).
And now, over 30 years later, I work in Medford, MA and one of my friends is a Medford High School teacher. To those who say "Medford High School wasn't like that" - nuts to you! EVERY HIGH SCHOOL WAS AND IS LIKE THAT!
Edmundson's descriptions of his love affairs with television and football are enlightening to those of us who are indifferent or hostile to both.
His loving yet totally strained relationship with his father tears at the heart.
His analysis of race relations in the 70s rings very true.
I agree that a followup visit with Mr. Lears would have added to the tribute, and I also wonder why there is nary a mention of Edmundson's mother, but these are minor flaws.
I devoured this book in a few hours and will buy a copy to share with my book club. It is both poignant and hysterically funny.

Morningside Heights: A Novel
Morningside Heights: A Novel
by Cheryl Mendelson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 37.95
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Juicy Slice of Life, Aug. 8 2003
This was such a pleasurable read, with the intense flavors of the neighborhood and its residents. From the building staff to the clergy to the Catskills vacationers, each group weaves and entwines to complete the story. I agree with the reviewers who found this to be an most engaging combination of Austen and Colwin.
My favorite quotes:
"Each of his children...was an exquisite soul with whom he enjoyed a kind of intimacy - simultaneously light, easy, fraught, and deep - that his own father had never known."
"This year, as in all years past, Charles and Anne watched a new crop of parents and students unpack all those trunks, boxes, and bags. How meek and humble, how self-effacing, the mothers and fathers looked as they arranged to give their hopeful offspring a chance for the success that they themselves, apparently, thought they had muffed."
No success muffed here!

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Reporting Real Life, April 3 2003
I found this book to be an excellent example of reporting without shadings of opinion and recommendations. We don't need LeBlanc to tell us that lack of education, job opportunities, and decent housing play a large role in shaping the lives of people in poverty. And I'm sure she doesn't have The Magic Solutions either!
The most sorrowful part of this fascinating book - so like that car accident you can't refrain from looking at - was the absolute lack of positive role models in any of the characters' formative years. Coco's daughter Mercedes had one teacher who valued her spunkiness, and enjoyed a very happy experience at a Fresh Air Fund-type camp, but that was about it and it was probably too little too late. Even Jessica having her cause taken up by law students to obtain her early release from prison seemed to have had only a minor impact on her. Imagine what a difference having a mentor, a caring and wise older person, would have made for Jessica and Coco and their parents. The problem is how to accomplish this without appearing as Lady and Lord Bountifuls condescending to shower the huddled masses with irrelevant middle class values.
Having read "The Noonday Demons: An Atlas of Depression" and its stunning chapter on depression in indigent people, I am all the more convinced that treating depression in this population is just as important as any other anti-poverty programs we have.
I hope to someday learn about how LeBlanc met her subjects and about what has happened to them, and if anyone ever gets out of there not only alive but well.

by Richard Price
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.90
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Price stays on target, March 12 2003
This review is from: Samaritan (Hardcover)
I eagerly await every book by Richard Price. Samaritan was no exception. I appreciate his consistency - I have never been disappointed in any of his books. His characters always have rich inner lives and his plot line always keep the reader interested. In the back of my head, through the whole book, was the idea that the benefactor most loved by God is anonymous. This book reinforces that lesson. Highly recommended. Those of you who have not read any of his other books are in for a treat.

by Thane Rosenbaum
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.37
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Thane, Feb. 28 2003
This review is from: SECOND HAND SMOKE (Hardcover)
I read this after "Golems of Gotham" and enjoyed this one even more. The entire Katz family is complex and their struggles thought-provoking and sympathetic. The supporting cast - nurses, gangsters, Nazi prison guards, models - are the fantastic foliage surrounding the main characters.
Thane Rosenbaum keeps good company with other fine Jewish writers, some of whom interweave the Holocaust with other themes, some of whom stay in the shtetl, and some of whom just stay parked on the Lower East Side - go Tepper!

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