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The Best American Essays 2011 (2011)

by Edwidge Danticat(Favorite Author)
3.78 of 5 Votes: 3
0547479778 (ISBN13: 9780547479774)
Mariner Books
review 1: My two favorites: "What Broke My Father's Heart," by Katy Butler, and "Ascultation" by Steven Church. Butler's essay covers familiar territory -- our for-profit medical system takes her ailing father down many wrong roads -- but what makes her essay different, and better, is the calm tone of explanation. But she's far from calm -- she and her mother are outraged and desperate, two details that come through in dialogue and scene, which is hard to do well in nonfiction. Church's essay is ten levels of brilliant as he leads us on an intellectual meditation on sounds of survival. I admire these quieter essays, the ones that are not so obvious. In contrast, Mischa Berlinkski's first-person account of the Haiti earthquake is an obvious pick for obvious reasons, as is Hitchen's c... moreancer essay, and Derricotte's abuse essay, and the obligatory McSweeney's snarking anti-essay essay...which was funny, but, by the end of the book, just a novelty.
review 2: An enlightening collection but inconsistent. Appealing to this reader was Katy Butler's state of geriatric medicine in her essay, "What Broke My Father's Heart." Paul Crenshaw's essay, "After the Ice," described powerfully shaken baby syndrome abuse and the pathology that would lead a person to physically abuse an eighteen-month-old toddler. Similarly included was an essay by a son who describes his relationship with his father who used a belt to punish him, and the son/writer's meditation on whether such punishment was reasonable or abusive, and despite that answer he could not change his feelings of love for his father. In Pico Iyer's essay, Chapels, he urges us to make time for silence and stillness every day. Bridget Pottef, in her essay, "Lucky Girl," writes about illegal abortions in the 1960s. less
Reviews (see all)
Some winners and some losers in the essays collected here, as usual.
Not as impressed as I thought I would be.
Worth the price. Excellent essays.
great minds, great writing!
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