Documentary-Like Memoir of a Mother Who Made “A Way Out of No Way”

Book review: The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, by Bridgett M. Davis (Amazon / Book Depository) Professor and novelist Bridgett M. Davis’s mother Fannie was a number runner. Even before she understood exactly what that was and meant, Davis understood she had to keep what her mother did a secret. I talked about her less and less because … Continue reading Documentary-Like Memoir of a Mother Who Made “A Way Out of No Way”

An Intriguing Cold Case and an Exhausting Memoir

Book review: The Kill Jar, by J. Reuben Appelman Amazon Over about a year spanning 1976-1977, at least four children were killed in Detroit’s Oakland County by a serial killer clunkily dubbed the Oakland County Child Killer, or OCCK. The case remains officially unsolved, but as J. Reuben Appelman lays out in this true crime narrative cum memoir, that’s not for lack of information, plenty … Continue reading An Intriguing Cold Case and an Exhausting Memoir

Double Life in Detroit

Book review: Masquerade, by Lowell Cauffiel (psst – $1.99 ebook alert at that link) Masquerade is one of those cliched un-put-downable books, pretty perfect if you want somewhat trashy-themed but still literary nonfiction. It’s the detailed account of Dr. Alan Canty, a respected psychologist from Grosse Pointe, an affluent and exclusive Detroit suburb, and his involvement in a seedier side of life via a bizarre … Continue reading Double Life in Detroit

Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Book review: Voices from the Rust Belt, edited by Anne Trubek (Amazon / Book Depository) These essays address segregated schools, rural childhoods, suburban ennui, lead poisoning, opiate addiction, and job loss. They reflect upon happy childhoods, successful community ventures, warm refuges for outsiders, and hidden oases of natural beauty. But mainly they are stories drawn from uniquely personal experiences. A girl has her bike stolen. … Continue reading Letting the Rust Belt Speak

Jane’s Life in Poetry, Through The Eyes of Her Niece

A southwest view from the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, Jane’s hometown, by Darwin Smith Jr. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Book review: Jane: A Murder, by Maggie Nelson (Amazon / Book Depository) “You know, for a world that demands direction, I certainly have none. Will I be a teacher? Will I go to France?”  An excerpt from law student Jane Mixer’s … Continue reading Jane’s Life in Poetry, Through The Eyes of Her Niece

Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Book review: American English, Italian Chocolate, by Rick Bailey English professor Rick Bailey writes a sweet, soft memoir in vignette-style essays stretching from the American Midwest to northern Italy. Musings include high school dramas and levitation parties, medical issues humorous and otherwise, death, home insect infestations, historical perceptions of beans, how Nutella might taste better in Italy than in America, and, a favorite: observations on espresso making in … Continue reading Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Memoir of a Murder, But So Much More

Book review: The Red Parts, by Maggie Nelson Amazon The Red Parts defies categorization. In the broadest terms it’s a memoir, but it’s also true crime, literary theory, narrative nonfiction, social commentary, philosophy, and in case you’re in doubt about any of its genres or topics, it’s written with a beautiful poetic voice, just making it really enjoyable to read. It’s also a book partly … Continue reading Memoir of a Murder, But So Much More