Elevate Difference

Reviews by Claire Burrows

Whom Not to Marry: Time-Tested Advice from a Higher Authority

After reading Whom Not to Marry by Father Pat Connor, a Catholic priest, I contemplated the different ways to approach this review. I could discuss the practical aspects of this book, but Maureen Dowd already addressed this in a July 6, 2008 op-ed in the New York Times.

Mathilda Savitch

Despite years of being told not to, I immediately judged Victor Lodato’s novel Mathilda Savitch by the cover. I opened it expecting to speed through a mature version of Harriet the Spy with a twist of Tim Burton’s eccentricity.

Nancy: Volume 2

Drawn and Quarterly’s second compilation of the John Stanley-penned Nancy comics are simply enjoyable, and deliver what the Dell Comics stamps promise: “clean and wholesome entertainment.” More exceptional, however, than the Little Rascal-esque hijinks is Stanley’s clever writing and humorous narrative.

The Pistachio Seller

“How does a woman fall in love?” The opening line of Reem Bassiouney’s The Pistachio Seller is dangerously full of clichéd melodrama and trite gender assumptions; however, Bassiouney avoids these pitfalls by presenting complicated characters who exhibit the complexity of religion, love, and belief. Bassiouney explains the significance of the pistachio in an Author’s Note, which reveals the historical significance of the pistachio and ties the nut to a very

Little Venus

Little Venus, a collection of poems by Carla Drysdale, is at once hauntingly beautiful and disturbing. The poems are an autobiographical account of child abuse, sexual abuse, and a dysfunctional family, yet Drysdale manages to strike the difficult balance between beauty and horror.

My Father’s Love: Portrait of the Poet as a Young Girl

I find memoirs difficult to criticize, especially when the content is personal and intimate. The first volume of author and poet Sharon Doubiago’s memoir, My Father's Love, feels like an open wound, the scar tissue scraped off to allow for belated healing.

Thicker Than Water: A Kit O'Malley Mystery

When I took creative writing classes in college, our professor always said, “Show, don’t tell.” Meaning, let the reader see the story without articulating every detail. Well, Lindy Cameron, author of Thicker Than Water, tells everything through wordy dialogue, detailed facial expressions, and exhaustive character descriptions.

Glycerin Goat’s Milk Soap

In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry says, “I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” One of my simplest pleasures is gained by placing an aromatic bar of soap in my dresser drawer and later slipping on a crummy T-shirt that smells like a lavender sachet in a cedar chest. This has the potential to alter the entire course of my day.


I was given a bootleg copy of Taxidermia about a year ago, before its North American release. True to bootleg copies, the disc went kaput about fifteen minutes into it, leaving me with the opening scene burned into my brain: the image of a flaming orgasm. Fire literally shoots out of a man’s penis. When I had the opportunity to review this critically recognized and awarded Hungarian film, I was excited to get past the opening scene.

Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For - From Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes

Vegan = tofu = dreadlocks = body odor = weird. This review is not about debunking the vegan stereotype equation, and all its variations, but rather about introducing the equal opportunity indulgence: brunch. In a first read through, Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook Vegan Brunch is nearly perfect.

Is the Holocaust Unique?: Perspectives on Comparative Genocide

In the third edition of this book, Alan Rosenbaum has collected a selection of brilliant, incendiary, and questionable essays addressing a sensitive yet much argued question. To quote Israel W.

From the Heart

The Isley Brothers have been making fantastic and varied music since the 1950s, or as their DefJam website says, creating “Baby Makin’ Music.” Personally, I would prefer listening to From The Heart with a glass of wine while chopping vegetables, making dinner rather than babies.

The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization

The propagated image of the "modern woman" is usually White and lithely strutting the streets of New York or Paris. Hollywood films as well as vintage prints in hip clothing boutiques give us the familiar image of a short-cropped brunette in smart dress. The Modern Girl Around the World Research Group (comprised by the book's editors) has collected a group of essays suggesting that this fabulous 1920’s to 1930’s woman was an international phenomenon, and not merely a Western emulation.