True Books | Book Review | Chicago Reader

True Books 

The River Phoenix Album, by Penelope Dening (Thunder's Mouth Press, $16.95).

Synopsis: The career of gifted movie star River Phoenix, whose life was tragically cut short by drugs, is celebrated and closely analyzed in this 80-page, large-format book.

Representative quote: "River's [middle] name would also be sadly apt, although its significance was undoubtedly unknown to John and Arlyn at the time. As far as they were aware Jude came from 'Hey Jude'...But if his parents' reading had extended beyond cult novels to the work of Thomas Hardy, they would have known that Jude is the patron saint of lost causes."

Noteworthy flaw: Thirty-nine full-page photographs, several of them life-size.

Lucy's List: A Comprehensive Sourcebook for Making Larger Living Easier, by Lucy D.L. Curtis (Warner Books, $14.99).

Synopsis: Curtis, who shed 250 pounds from her 663-pound frame, lists catalogs that offer jumbo-size outfits and shares dieting tips. To help measure portions, a ruler is included in each book.

Representative quote: "If you are buying new wooden tables and chairs, ask the store (or the manufacturer) if they can reinforce the chairs."

Noteworthy flaw: Readers are being asked to accept dietary advice from a woman who weighs more than 400 pounds. Also, the ruler is only six inches long.

Stop Committing Voice Suicide, by Dr. Morton Cooper (Voice & Speech Company of America, $10).

Synopsis: "Millions of Americans are misusing their voices, playing a disastrous voice game" by not speaking properly, a situation only worsened by prescription-mad doctors and their poisons.

Representative quote: "Voice abuse involves excessive shouting, screaming, yelling, or even loud talking over a period of time. That may happen from cheering on your favorite team..."

Noteworthy flaw: Returns again and again to the hoarse voice of Bill Clinton, ending the book with a plea for him to change his vocally suicidal ways: "Are you listening, Mr. yPresident?"

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.

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