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March 07, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

We want a recall...
The Telluride Lecture Series presents
Kathleen A. Frankovic a producer at
CBS News, who will talk about the
wcky 2000 election. Angel Hall,
Aid. B B6:30 p.m. WEDNESDAY
michigandaily.com/arts MARCH 7, 2001


with a
Dy.fyan Blay
aPiArts Writer
,,lex Kim is an America
Poirate. He is an American
pans to reiterate this
Nonetheless, others, inc
..- Becau
his ef
Apple Pie flict
David Mazzotta Mazzo
American House Ale
Grade: B+ pains

a slice of college
side of satire in Pie'
to fall in love and forget everything. At other times,
all he wants to do is forget about his school and
money woes and play midnight frisbee golf in the
n. He was born in Grosse Arb with his closest friend, K.J. One of his mantras
citizen and takes special is "The only life worth pursuing is the easy one."
during his narration. Alex's girlfriend Sarah is a sweet Korean-
luding his own family, American girl, but romantically she is unresponsive
think of him as Korean. at best, barely reacting to Alex at times. Thus, when
se of his skin and his Alex meets the stunning Naomi, a beautiful blonde
s he is labeled, despite co-worker, he starts to question his relationship
forts to fit in. This con- with Sarah. This isn't easy, since in the Korean com-
dominates the novel munity, he and Sarah are practically engaged. Still,
e Pie" by David Naomi's mystique and beauty constantly remind him
otta of all that his love life could be.
x takes excruciating For a comedic look at college life, author David
to emphasize his Mazzotta does write some significant and poignant
can nature. His life is scenes. In one of the most haunting, Kim sees a
that of any other seven-year-old Korean girl on television, spelling
asity of Michigan stu- words left and right, unemotional. The sight of this
if perhaps a little more tragic figure haunts Alex throughout his rocky rela-
nging in some aspects. tionship with Sarah and throughout the whole novel.
sommates are nerds in Mazzotta, originally from Southfield, attended
sense of the word. He the University. In "Apple Pie," his first novel, he
e juggles part-time jobs. conveys Ann Arbor's dynamic nature. It's a real treat
uggles in his classes, dis- to read about his characters walking to Border's or
rs and considers switch- Espresso Royale. His greatest success, however, is
aerospace engineering, in his writing of Ann Arbor's diverse and often
ather's wishes. He uses humorous characters. Undoubtedly, Mazzotta's
al defies the stereotype of Southeastern Michigan upbringing aided his skill
for bringing out the humanity in his hero Alex and
antic desires make him a his social circle.
to be swept up in passion, Alex, through Naomi, meets humorous Ann
)resen e ther sid

t. t
;< v
&QK>ti "x 4
}a V h-
.} J L
S <n
{w v

Collection of stories
entertaining, witty

- challe
His r
has a steady girlfriend. H
An average student, he stn
likes some of his professo
rcg out of his major of
despite his dominating f
Cliff's Notes and in gener
the typical Asian student.
Kim's slacker and roma
n protagonist. He wants

Courtesy of American House
Arbor-style characters like Doobie, who peppers
every other sentence with a reference to his time in
Vietnam, Julian, who just returned from a rainforest
mission and Odium, a mildly famous poet of some-
what dubious merit who only answers to direct ques-
tions, not to statements.
Alex's tales have a dual nature to them. While his
anecdotes are terrific, he continuously feels the
need to prove he is American. This reminds the read-
er that, beyond being a slice of college life, "Apple
Pie" is also a book of struggling and emotion.
Through it all, Kim's (or Mazzotta's) satirical com-
mentary reigns supreme and dares the reader not to
laugh out loud at Alex's college experience.
3k6 f fern1111S111

By Marie Benard
Daily Arts Writer
The University of Iowa Writers
Workshop, the Julliard of the literary
universe, has produced a number of
spectacular writers over the years;
Raymond Carver, Flannery O'Conner,
John Irving and Rita Dove, to name a
few. Iowa's latest prodigy, Thisbe
Nissen, has come
forward with a
short-story collec-
tion entitled "Out
t Of the Gs' of the Girls'
Room, and Into Room and Into the
the Night Night," and her
Thisbe Nissen promise is clear.
Anchor Books The book is enter-
Grade: A taining, expres-
sive, brilliant and
witty from begin-
ning to end.
Nissen could be
on the way to the
fame of her prede-
At first glance, the candy-colored
book appears to be more suited to the
Cosmo Reader Recommendations
alongside "Bridget Jones' Diary" than
cited as "awe-inspiring" by the Austin
Chronicle. However, although Nissen
deals with subject matters that are very
close to home for the twenty-something
generation, she does so with a finesse
that is, indeed, awe-inspiring.
Nissen's investigations into human
relationships, chance, time and love,
occur in a number of places; a group of
deadheads on the day of Jerry's death, a
Texas girl on a blind date to a Manhattan
high school senior prom, a collection of
eight housemates struggling with
cohabitation in their final year of col-
lege (on Walnut Street, in fact), a long-
distance friendship begun at summer
camp, a video-store boy's admiration of
the mysterious skinny girl who eats
mushrooms, an Upper-West-Side girl
sleeping with her best friend's brother
while her mother dies in the apartment
below, a girl in a dissatisfactory rela-
tionship with terrible self-concept
creeping into bulimia and another man's
bed, Perhaps her most resonant piece,
"Accidental Love," is a story of two col-

lege-bound teenagers who met holding
Therma-Rests on a wilderness adven-
ture for teens. In this story the protago-
nist Lilith goes to visit Steffen at his
home in Maine, where Lilith meets
Steffen's mother, Lynn.
Lynn feeds her tea that tastes lik
"water that's had a ham-bone soaking T
it for two months" Lynn, she discovers;
even uses a vibrator. "Love is an entity
unto itself," Lynn tells Lilith. "There are
patches of it all over the place. It's not
really tangible, but it's there, pools of it.
Blue pockets, swirling like eddies.
People don't meet because they both
like Burmese food, or because some-
one's sister hasa friend who's single and
new in town, or because Billy's no
happened to crook just slightly to the
left at an angle that made me wantto
weep. People don't fall in love with each
other. They just fall in love."
In her tale of two traveling deadheas,
Nissen's lead character states that safety
is "a point of contact" Nissen's stories
are like that, those singular points of
contact that create, change and define
us. However, it's not just for her musings
on the big issues that Nissen is worth-
while. Every detail and quirk in h
plethora of characters is beautifully con-
structed. She explores youth with a gen-
uine maturity.
Nissen's stories have appeared in
Seventeen, The Sycamore Review and
Story. She has recently been awarded
with the John Simmons Award for Short
Fiction for this book, which is quickly
becoming one of the most popular col-
lections released by a University
Iowa writer.

ByCaitlin Friedeniann
DAty Arts Writer
Millions of self-help articles and
wpmen's magazines have tried to tell
the modern female how to be inde-
pendent. Those who have fabulous
careers and live without needing a
man are consid-
ered the great
successes of the
feminist move-
What Our ment. Why then
Mothers Didn't do so many
Tefl Us women today
Oanielle Crittenden feel out of con-
Touchstone Books trol and unful-
Grade: B+ filled?
In her work,
"What Our
Mothers Didn't
Tell Us,"
D a n i c l e
Crittenden per-
suasively argues
against these
basic feminist principles and
describes a new plan for feminine
happiness. Perhaps what makes the
book so revolutionary is that her
adjvice is so traditional.
Crittenden has written for many
publications, including The Wall
gtfeet Journal, The New York Times
atd' Ladies Home Journal. She has
al o appeared on the Today Show. As
founder of "The Women's
Quarterly" (published by the
Independent Women's Forum), she
ffers the educated viewpoints of
scheone well-versed in women's
She covers all of the main issues
in a modern woman's life, from sex
t) aging. In all categories, she

avoids reiteration of feminist cliches
and instead presents a more bal-
anced, rational attitude.
Crittenden has several very inter-
esting insights on one of the most
pressing issues for women today:
Encouraged by the sexual revolu-
tion, many women are not waiting
for marriage to lose their virginity.
Crittenden suggests that this con-
tributes to women's feeling of pow-
erlessness. She explains that
because men can find sex relatively
easy and without any obligations or
promises, "women lose the authority
to demand a commitment from them
... when something becomes widely
and cheaply available, its value usu-
ally goes down too." She does not
suggest a complete return to past
sexual restrictions, but proposes that
some restraint could help recover
male commitment and reunite sex
and love.
Crittenden also points out flaws in
the feminist principle of career first
and marriage later. Avoiding com-
mitment because of a need for indi-
vidual growth is pointed out as the
immature, selfish decision that it
really is. People must "understand
that family has never been about the
promotion of rights but about the
surrender of them." This idea is
completely logical, and one wonders
why so many women today still
refuse to give up anything of them-
This refusal, as well as the deci-
sions to wait until one is "estab-
lished" to have children, can really
hurt a woman, according to
Crittenden. She explains with a con-
servative, perhaps even ancient,

argument: Biology.
Although an undergraduate read-
er is tempted to dismiss this ratio-
nale automatically, Crittenden's
arguments are irrefutably valid, for
all humans, male or female. Certain
things in life really do matter more
than others, and Crittenden points
this out in her elegant, convincing
The arguments Crittenden pre-
sents are especially convincing
because she does not hide them
beneath flowery words and compli-
cated sentences. Her straight, direct
style makes the book as easy to read
as a novel.
The language she uses is not
forceful and domineering but
assertive and clear, allowing the
reader to form his or her own con-
clusions with the information she
Although Crittenden argues well,
she makes a few false assumptions
that weaken what she has to say. She
often credits the generation of
women in college now with extreme
feminist views.
However, the only people she has
actually interviewed attend East
coast liberal schools. Without repre-
sentation from other places, it is
hard to accept her findings as com-
pletely true.
In spite of this, Crittenden suc-
ceeds in her endeavor to present the
other side of modern day feminism.
This belief that independence and a
career might make women happy is
at once entirely fresh and complete-
ly traditional. Crittenden's eloquent
and persuasive arguments make
"What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us"
an enlightening and interesting read.

Story of adolescence depicts
stereotypical, broad characters'

By Melissa Penrice
For the Daily

With a nod towards teenage angst,
Louisa Luna takes on the struggles of
early adolescence in her first novel,
"Brave New Girl."
Aimed primarily
at young adults,
this book tackles
Brave New the issues of
Girl acceptance, inse-
Louisa Luna curity and betray-
Pocket Books/MTV al experienced by
Grade: B+ all.
"Brave New
Girl" takes the
reader through a
very brief yet piv-
otal moment in
the life of a social-
ly alienated four-
teen-year-old named Doreen Severna.

Her mundane life, which is spent avoid-
ing her family and listening to The
Pixies with her only friend Ted, is inter-
rupted by the introduction of her sister's
latest boyfriend, Matthew. His strange
words and stranger actions lead Doreen
to believe that perhaps her life won't
always be so pointless. Matthew is the
person who forces Doreen to mend the
relationships in her life, though not
through conventional methods. Matthew
presents Doreen with the biggest chal-
lenge of her life, and in the face of it,
Doreen comes to the realization that she
does not have to face her struggles
Louisa Luna attempts to cast an
image of a modern Holden Caulfield
through a journey of personal enlighten-
ment by Doreen, the rebellious social
outcast. Understood by neither her fam-
ily nor her peers, Doreen finds accep-

tance in her music, as well as in her best
friend, Ted.
Much like Doreen, Ted battles rejec-
tion and torment from peers who have
no comprehension of his personal
issues. Misunderstood and underesti-
mated, Doreen and Ted are written to
embody stereotypical teenagers, com-
mitted only to nonconformity and each
By depicting these characters in terms
of such broad stereotypes, Luna may be
attempting to make Doreen's story
"every girl's" story. Initially, she is more
successful in frustrating the reader with
the over-use of exaggerated teenage
cliches. However, the trivialization of
Doreen's character combined with the
brutal reality that she must face at the
hand of Matthew, speaks directly to the
need for recognition of one another's


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