RaveThe Pittsburg Post-GazetteIt’s rare these days to hear anyone grumble, \'Boy, I wish that book (or movie) were longer.\' But I would say that about Redhead by the Side of the Road ... I would rather be left wanting more than dreading more, and it’s a tribute to Ms. Tyler (one of my favorite authors) to wish to linger longer in her fascinating fictional universe. If, in December, we might sing, We need a little Christmas right this very minute, in pandemic panic we might warble that we need or could surely use a little Anne Tyler ... The 78-year-old author has lost none of her touch with crisp, lively descriptions of characters and families, forged by biology, happenstance or fortunate error ... sometimes 178 pages is enough to examine a world that expands, contracts and, like a balky computer, just might be ready for a reboot.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteRaftery doesn’t just recap the movies or rely solely on previously published pieces meticulously acknowledged in endnotes. He conducted 130-plus new interviews with actors, directors, writers and crew members, and the distance allows reflection and freedom to relive jubilation, anxiety or disappointment ... a chance to revisit films you loved or loathed, a guide for what to stream, and a reminder that movies were written off once before and then the lights went down and 1999 came up.
PositivePittsburgh Post-Gazette...a comprehensive look at the life and work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King. It’s a reverential celebration of a man who seemed too good to be true —but was ... The earlier years are particularly fascinating, and the biography shines a light on the often-overlooked hiatus from the Neighborhood in the mid-1970s when Mr. Rogers created programs for adults ... It’s all very earnest and welcome although it could have used more jolts of the irreverence ... It doesn’t make clear if any cast members recently declined to be interviewed or merely were squeezed out for space, and it occasionally touches on events that beg for more elaboration.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette\"Even if you’ve never been to Times Square and have no opinion on secret nostalgia for its \'nastier, scarier, dirtier\' days, you may relate to the keen observational nuggets sprinkled throughout this book ... It’s the mature work of someone who knows marriages can be \'happy, miserable and somewhere in between,\' and the path from one to the other can be as unpredictable as a mudslide and just as irreversible ... I would not consider Alternate Side my favorite Quindlen novel (that would be One True Thing, partly due to its film version), but I would have tracked it down even if not reviewing and then passed it along to others. It creates a vividly realized community where the lines are drawn between owners and renters, the well off and the immigrants they employ, and couples and friends who share a history that may — or may not — be enough to keep them on the same side of the street.\
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThe story zigs and then zags, leading the reader to be convinced of someone’s innocence, duplicity or guilt and then forced to re-evaluate. As a character says, 'Just when I think I’m starting to understand, the whole thing gets turned inside out.' The surprising villain is unmasked but without the confrontational fireworks we expect or that the crimes frankly demand ... Although men appear in the past and present, Ms. Ephron creates a strong female-centric world. In addition to Miss Sorrel, Lis and Vanessa, key characters include Evelyn, a neighbor and fellow doll aficionado, along with a pair of strangers drawn into the decades-old drama. The author can artfully paint an image and sharply shine a light on the sister left behind.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteIf you’re an Alda fan in search of memoir material, track down 2005’s Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I’ve Learned or 2007’s Things I Learned While Talking to Myself. This book sprinkles in some show business memories, but it’s driven by science although aimed at everyone. It can seem repetitive, but Mr. Alda proves his point about how there are different ways to express the same thought. Mr. Alda’s curiosity, intelligence and desire to wipe out baffled and bewildered faces make a compelling case for clarity, communication and, always, empathy.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteIn an entertainment universe where nary a discouraging word is heard, Nevertheless is surprising, candid, sometimes discomfiting and well written.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteWhat is dynamite is first-time novelist Flint’s ability to strike a match on page one and keep the flame burning for the next 300 pages ... She doesn’t stiff the readers, but Ms. Flint does make them wait, almost until the end, to reveal the who, what, when, where, why and how. It may not make you gasp, but it likely will shock or surprise you, even if you’re a seasoned mystery fan ... Ms. Flint dramatically describes the damaging disconnect between how the world sees and judges Ruth and the emotional storm raging inside.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...must reading for any fan of the space opera or the actress-writer known for her Hollywood history, witty wordplay, self-deprecating humor and candor ... smart, funny, fast with a quip and insightful.
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteA good book, like a good movie, stays with you. When you think back on it, you can remember the emotions it evoked, the place where you sat while reading it and whether it left you in tears or feeling exhilarated or exhausted. Anna Quindlen’s Miller’s Valley does that, and transports you to a place that might be destined to disappear and a family certain to both reveal its secrets and allow some to go to the grave.