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  • By Dan Barkin
    Apr 1, 2008
    "A Taste of Taffy" I cite this too much, but anyway: Red Smith, the New York Times sports columnist said writing's easy, all you have to do is sit down at the typewriter and open a vein. I bring up Smith by way of saying that I think writing is hard, and I've been doing it as a daily newspaper guy for 32 years. I've never tackled anything as ambitious as a book. So I must pay tribute to the writers whose works form up A Taste of Taffy. And I am going to single out several essays. I use a couple of criteria, to wit: Did this writing move me? Did I laugh out loud? Did I see myself? Oh, these are simple goals, and oh, these are hard to achieve. With all that said, I liked: * Helicopter Parents Turn Kamikaze, by Liza Weidle. I have ridden in that chopper, and committed some though not all the sins listed by Liza. I personally never attended class for my son to take notes, but he still has three years to go at N.C. State, so we'll see. The value in Liza's piece is that she... More > drilled down deeply into the phenomenon so that she could surface the symptoms. Some of these symptoms are so ubiquitous that we don't recognize them; therein lies the problem. Liza's story should be sent home in book bags; the helicopter parents will be the ones to find it at the bottom, crumpled up, and they may read it. * Battling an Eating Disorder: A Father's Perspective, by Buddy Howard Good writing is about plot, and tension. It is not about adjectives. If you don't have the goods, you have to use every literary device known to God and man to fool the reader. Buddy had the goods. He let the story tell itself, and the facts pulled the narrative along and made me want to know how it came out. There was no big "Aha" moment that saved his daughter, and it's worth praising that Buddy didn't feel that he had to supply a dramatic inflection point. * Late Night at the Animal Emergency Clinic, by Kalani Anne MacGregor Kalani slammed the door on her ferret. That sets up a visit to the pet emergency room, and we share the room with other pets and owners in distress. Since HIPPA evidently does not apply to animals, Kalani succeeds in getting the staff to open up, which makes this more than just a story about a ferret with a bum toe. * Stuff I've Learned, by Mark Cantrell The Tao of Mark consists of 21 ideas, some of which are clearly based on experience - the inadvisability of dressing up a cat. I said up above that writing is hard. Trying to be funny, well, not exactly funny, but funny/sage is harder. The thread goes through the needle's eye....or it doesn't, and then it is just open-mike Friday and you can hear the audience cough. Mark threaded the needle pretty consistently. Dan Barkin is senior editor/online for the News & Observer of Raleigh, NC< Less
  • By Amanda Lamb
    Mar 8, 2008
    ""A Taste of Taffy"" At its core good nonfiction writing allows the reader to connect with the topic at hand in a very real and personal way. A Taste of Taffy does this from so many different and unique perspectives. In this delightful collection of essays there is something that every reader can relate to. As a parent I was profoundly touched by Buddy Howard’s story about his daughter’s troubling health crisis, “Battling an Eating Disorder.” In that same vein, as a parent, I laughed out loud while reading Dan Bain’s “Poker Face.” In the irreverent tone, not unlike that of David Sedaris, Bain shares a difficult parenting moment with great insight and humor. I also enjoyed “In the Wii Hours” by Patrick Repper. Having heard these tales from parents I know, it was fun to read an actual account of something I surmised was urban legend. Kristy Stevenson’s beautiful description in “Grandma’s Hands” is proof that the best creative nonfiction is in the minute details of... More > life, ones we often overlook in our busy daily lives. Mark Cantrell’s truisms in “Stuff I’ve Learned” are a fitting and fun way to end the wonderful collection. I highly recommend A Taste of Taffy to anyone who is looking to connect with the world around them. It’s a lovely collaboration that highlights the fact that life it truly made up of moments like these… Amanda Lamb/Author of "Smotherhood"< Less
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Product Details

Volume One
March 13, 2008
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.52 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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