- Paperback: 219 pages
- Publisher: Seal Press (September 21, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580051448
- ISBN-13: 978-1580051446
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Above Us Only Sky: Essays Paperback – September 21, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
NPR personality Winik (The Lunch-Box Chronicles) mines the intertwined humor and poignancy of life's exigencies in this earthy essay collection, taking stock of moments from childhood to motherhood and reliving them with relish. By turns heartfelt and cutting, playful and contemplative, Winik's chatty narration and musings emerge as vivid brushstrokes on a crowded canvas, jottings of her thoughts at both pivotal moments and more introspective times. With chewable, digestible essays divided among five sections (on her upbringing, growing older, her early adulthood, motherhood and modern life), Winik explores her metamorphoses with bracing frankness and clever turns of phrase, beaming her hard-won enlightenment into a darker past that involved abetting her dying husband's suicide. As she traces her path from New Jersey to Austin, Tex., to rural Pennsylvania, she brings her forthrightness and wit to bear on topics from blended family life to her religious ambivalence (reflected in the collection's title), with a heritage of "diluted, distilled" Judaism. Raising two teenage boys and a toddler in her 40s, she considers the disconnect between the two ages in memorably wry style: "Toppled from my pedestal like a statue of Saddam Hussein, I will be rejected as powerfully as I was once embraced." (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Though often compared to Erma Bombeck and Anna Quindlen, with perhaps a dash of Garrison Keillor or Bill Maher thrown in, intrepid NPR commentator Winik's voice is as unique as her observations and as recognizable as her experiences. By turns pithy and poignant, outraged and outrageous, Winik's latest collection of essays once again mines the rich veins of her personal life as she muses on themes both familiar (marriage and motherhood) and fresh (post-9/11 America), doing so with the unapologetic frankness and unbridled humor fans have come to expect. And while the laughs are still there, there's also a tempered maturity that nicely balances Winik's self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek approach. Middle age is upon her, a perfect time for reflection and prediction, appreciation and apprehension, making amends and making a difference. Equally comfortable commenting on the Taliban as on tattoos, blended families and borrowed fame, the always entertaining Winik is at her most eloquent, however, when examining her own life through a precisely calibrated personal microscope. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Above Us Only Sky: Essays
I'm the same age now that she was when she wrote this. This book had nothing to offer me and to be honest, I'm not sure what her point in writing it was other than enabling her to talk about herself. Life lessons, humor, poignancy, things to make you think? Eh, not so much! In fact I'm a bit suspicious that the handful of good reviews on here may be from her friends (of course that's total speculation on my part).
I believe that her poetry and songwriting may be superior to her essays. This book was not promising from the get-go when I read the introduction and was a little surprised and thought, "Hm, surely the actual book will be better." Not really! I paid special attention to the sections that the other reviewers on here specifically lauded, and NOPE. To be frank M Winik, based just on this book, gives me the impression of someone I don't think I would take a shine to if I knew in real life. These essays are actually extremely weak in terms of any observations, insight or thoughtful self-awareness.
The worst thing I can mention is her attitude about mental health issues. Actual condescension from her (in different parts of the book) about both psychiatric medication, and about people who fall prey to committing suicide. She obliquely references a suicide quote by GK Chesterton though she isn't bald-faced enough to come straight out and say what she's implying. I looked up the Chesterton quote and it's disgusting.
"Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men. As far as he is concerned he wipes out the world."
Her comment about the quote is, "That's the point, isn't it?" This in reference to someone she was close to over an extended period of time, who became overtly suicidal, and for whom nobody did ANYthing as an intervention, and he successfully and efficiently killed himself. She expresses no remorse or guilt or insight after the fact, let alone even sympathy or empathy. In fact she puts him down for it.
Yeah, I don't need to read any more Marion Winik. I hope she and her children never experience clinical depression.