RaveThe New RepublicAs in her fiction—for which the vast majority of readers know her—Moore’s one-liners are tart, but never acid ... She strikes the reader as someone who could silence a room with a few well-placed glances; the most withering thing she will say about the most ridiculous of passages is that it \'gives one pause.\' I was three-quarters of the way through this book before I realized—shocked, and then shocked at my shock—that it contains no hatchet jobs. See What Can Be Done is...studded, here and there, with gem-dense personal essay ... Moore reveals herself, in her criticism, to be the kind of reader every writer both longs for and fears. She seems to be incapable of missing a trick, and paces through novels like a casino manager surveilling the floor, with a sixth sense for chip hustlers and baloney dice ... You may end See What Can Be Done feeling that you have come to the end of a love song...or perhaps to accept what you cannot know.
PositiveThe New Republic...a gripping analysis not just of the gymnastics world, but of what our desire for perfection does to us as athletes and as viewers ... Meyers’s book pays close attention to the gradual evolution, both technical and cultural, that allowed this change to take place ... The End of the Perfect 10 is about something even bigger than the gymnastics world itself. It shows us that we now live in a world where a young woman may captivate millions not through her alleged perfection, but through her dedication, daring, and strength.
PositiveThe New RepublicFour people died at the concert, and Selvin’s detailed account of the day’s events actually makes you wonder why more people didn’t ... One of the most insidiously frightening insights that Selvin’s Altamont allows us is that a day now remembered as 'rock’s darkest day' was seen by the majority of its participants, at least in its immediate aftermath, as a pretty good concert. Even the performers themselves weren’t entirely sure what happened until later ... Selvin relies heavily on an artificially omniscient point of view: Altamont is deeply researched, but Selvin merges the hundreds of voices that inform his account into one coherent vision. It takes what might have been a collage of disparate voices and turns it into a smooth page-turner.
PositiveThe New RepublicWhite Trash is a dizzying, dazzling four-hundred-year-long tour of American history from Pocahontas to Sarah Palin, seen from a vantage point that students of American history occupy all too rarely: that of the disposable citizens whose very presence disrupts what Isenberg calls our 'national hagiography' ... Isenberg’s argument is based on painstakingly supported factual analysis ... White Trash loses some of its vitality as Nancy Isenberg leaves behind the wreckage she has handily made of early American rhetoric, and draws toward the present day.
RaveThe New RepublicLike all great memoirists, Harrison also knows that the real magic happens when the reader is lulled into thinking they’re reading something ordinary ... In the stories Harrison tells, the detective can only hope to find a few fragments. The book’s essays offer their own fragmentary approach to truth. They also offer us the chance to learn that, when it comes to certain stories, this is the only kind of truth we can ever know.
RaveThe New RepublicOne of the most crucial questions A Mother’s Reckoning poses is whether the lessons we can take from such crimes are most visible to those who have known—and loved—their perpetrators ... Sue Klebold, in the course of both the period of her life that A Mother’s Reckoning details and the book itself, remains utterly determined to resist easy answers. At heart, the book is not a portrait of Dylan, but a portrait of Sue Klebold’s grief, because her grief has taught her that Dylan will always be, in some ways, unknowable.