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The Neon Bible
The Neon Bible
by John Kennedy Toole
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.49
190 used & new from $0.01

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toole's Many Tools, October 28, 1997
This review is from: The Neon Bible (Paperback)
Toole wrote only two books in his short life, and what markedly differing books they are! THE NEON BIBLE, although published last, was the first of Toole's novels, written when he was just a teen. While it lacks the much-touted satirical humor found in A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, THE NEON BIBLE is a valiant first effort, one deserving of the praise which came to Toole too late to provide the publishing opportunity he longed for.
Author Florence King has likened this novel to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. And while it has much in common with the storytelling approach of Harper Lee's book, it more accurate to call THE NEON BIBLE a short, Southern version of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, told from the male perspective, of course. We listen, interested, as David tells us the story of his childhood in an isolated valley community. In his own way, David learns what Christianity is and is not. And as a young man he makes a difficult but realistic discovery: "They used to tell us in school to think for yourself, but you couldn't do that in the town."
I gave THE NEON BIBLE a 9, not a 10, primarily because of some unexplained anomolies in the plot. For example, he knows his Aunt Mae is not coming back for him, yet he quits his good job anyway, and we never know why. Plot points such as that one make you feel that the character has stopped thinking like a real person for a while.
Vastly different from his second, Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, THE NEON BIBLE shows us that Toole had many tools, and that he refined them over the years of his short, unrecognized career. People who speculate about his potential as an author are more than justified. I, too, find myself wondering what we've missed by his absence . . . .

Beyond Prozac: Antidotes for Modern Times
Beyond Prozac: Antidotes for Modern Times
by Michael J. Norden
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.58
117 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Beyond Prozac" excels beyond other books of its kind., September 12, 1997
Upon finishing "Beyond Prozac," my first reaction was that it should be titled "The Depression Super-Book"! Giving background information on depression, presenting a half a dozen natural alternative treatments, and thoroughly discussing the full range of presciption anti-depressants and related research, this book is teeming with technical detail. Unlike other books lining the self-help shelves, this is not "fluffy" reading -- it is designed for the SERIOUS mental health consumer. Dr. Norden provides much information that cannot be found in the many watered-down sources on depression.

The chapters on natural alternatives are particularly empowering. Dr. Norden not only presents relevant evidence of the alternatives' success, he explains the scientific reasoning behind them. He does not expect the reader to take his word for it. Instead, he provides enough information for the reader to make personal decisions.

The chapters on prescription anti-depressants are equally empowering, leaving me feeling capable of taking an active role in my own diagnosis and treatment. This kind of information is essential in a time where you can see a doctor for only 5 or 10 minutes. Ultimately, the responsibility for our mental health resides with us, and Dr. Norden's book gives us tools to help us take that responsibility.

I gave this book a rating of 9. The only reason I didn't give is a 10 is because of readability. Some less-dedicated readers would find it easy to get bogged down in the technical jargon, giving up before reaching the end. Those who stick with it, however, will be richly rewarded.

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