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Books Oprah Would NEVER Endorse!

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-07-10


It’s time for more wacky book reviews! Oprah, eat your heart out!

How To Survive Federal Prison Camp: Years ago, when I was self-publishing, I got on the mailing list of Loompanics, a book distributor out in Washington. They have all sorts of interesting titles available, and they occasionally sent me books for review. One of them was this handy book on what to do before you are shipped off, how to behave once you get there, and specific do’s and don’ts. There’s even a recipe for prison dip! Prison camp isn’t as bad as prison, but you always need to watch your back. Very entertaining.

Bad Girls Do It! : Also from Loompanics, this is a compilation of female
serial killers over several hundred years. Aileen (“Monster”) Wuornos is in here, along with assorted baby killers, medieval torturers, and stressed-out housewives. Also listed here are Bonnie of “Bonnie and Clyde” fame, and Myra Hindley, one half of the duo known as the “Moors Murderers.” Perhaps what is most interesting about this is the lack of the “shoot-em-up” type of killing among women. Men are more likely to “go postal,” so to speak. Women are more into poisoning. Gentlemen, here’s a warning: arsenic must not have much of a flavor, because apparently it can be sprinkled into food and it won’t be noticed. The effects are cumulative, so once the damage is done, most likely you’ll be
gone.

Candy Girl : This is a more recent selection. The author, Diablo Cody, feels an urge to strip one night and tries out for amateur night at a blue-collar strip club in Minneapolis. She doesn’t win, but her debut takes her on a year of stripping in various clubs and jobs as a phone sex worker and “performing” as a peepshow-type of artist in a place called Sex World. A fascinating look at a line of work people wonder about but were too afraid to ask about. Cody tells her story with humor. If you like my column, you’ll love this book.

Mad Goes To the Oscars : A compilation of Mad Magazine satires about great and not-so-great movies of the past. I think Mad reached its heyday from the early 60s through the mid-90s. I haven’t bought it in years, but this book was well worth the money. It doesn’t matter if the movie was a comedy or drama, there’s enough snappy comebacks, funny observations, in-jokes and observations about plot absurdities to shoot even the most noble film down in hilarious flames.

The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom : Created as a graphic novel, this book makes me cry every time I read it. A young woman dreams of graduating from college, but gets pregnant when she got raped while accepting a ride from a stranger. Despite no sympathy from her mother and her sister, the author, Katherine Arnoldi, sets out to pursue her dream. She gets fired from her factory job, hooks up with a guy who ends up abusing her, meets her biological dad in L.A. (and naturally, doesn’t give her any help) and decides to hitchhike to a friend’s place in Colorado. There, her luck starts to turn and she meets other single mothers who are going to college. She joins the college equestrian team, studies art, dancing and all the things she wanted to try when she was 17. She even gets a cool work-study job drawing bugs for the entomology department. Happy ending? She wins fiction and drawing awards and lives in New York City and is an advocate for equal rights to education for single moms.

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