The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 229

Early Fall 2012

Ten Testy Reviews
Sometimes our writers go overboard,
writing reviews that are,
to say the least,
on the edge.
Here are ten reviews that
fried the book in question and,
in some cases, produced
steamy letters of protest.

Change Your Life Not Your Wife
"According to one online service,
marriage for a woman is
giving a husband
family control over her
sexual services, labor
and property."

Orientation and Other Stories
"'But,' says our anonymous narrator,
'we're not supposed to
know any of this.
Do not let on. If you let on,
you may be let go.'"

Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes
"There are occasional flashes
of warmth and light in this book,
but they are so rare as to be noteworthy,
a tiny beacon of light on
the endless sea of rape
and hurt and pillage."

Publish Like a Pro
"I argued my case repeatedly,
for I cared and she cared,
and I wanted to be right,
and she knew she was right,
and finally she would snap,
'Don't fudge!'
And she wasn't talking hot chocolate."

American Boy
"You know what?
I don't really need any more
of your kind in my life.
I don't mind putting out,
but from now on
I want it to be with someone
who can do me some good."

Married at Fourteen
"She was married at fourteen,
had baby at fifteen,
got divorced at sixteen,
got remarried (to the same guy) at seventeen,
separated at eighteen."

Pacific Standard Time
"Cubism aims to destroy
by designed disorder.
Expressionism aims to destroy
by aping the primitive and insane.
Abstractionism aims to destroy
by the creation of brainstorms.
Surrealism aims to destroy
by the denial of reason."

Hard Times
"We poor English students
despaired of Dickens,
with all his detours and pontificating,
plots growing like weeds in the back yards,
filled with side-journeys and
sub-plots and ever-so lengthy dialogues."

Great Reviews of the Past
The Volcano Adventure Guide
"Besides blasting off
the sides of whole mountains,
volcanoes have been cited by the EPA
for smoking too much and
for emitting hydrogen sulfide.
Which stinks."

In late 2012, we will have on hand
a boxed-set double hardback
with over 900 pages,
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World.
It will contain more than
200 reviews, poems,
readings, and articles from
the first eighteen years of RALPH.
If you are interested, please click here:
and you will find more than enough information
about our latest escapade.

Samuel Johnson's Psoriasis
Prisoners of War in Borneo

Lay / Lie

Flat Tax

Bizarre Letter of the Month
Cocaine and Freud

No Exit
"This is what happens
when I dare go to nursing homes
unaccompanied by a walking person!
It's inevitable that someday
I'll visit someone in a nursing home
and they'll never let me out!"

The Revelation in the Dining Room
"I'm not bound to deliver
a lecture on my family affairs,
I have not undertaken to do it,
and I'm not a going to do it.
Therefore those who expect any explanation
whatever upon that branch of the subject,
will be disappointed."

The Exploding Whale
"Soon after the fuse was lit,
there was a stupendous rain of
blubber chunks for 800 feet all around,
one of which smashed a car
a quarter of a mile away."

On Beauty
"What happened next was like a movie.
Soldiers clambering through knee-high water to a beach
Where villagers have set up card tables,
Platters of food --- what food
The camera doesn't care about because
Soldiers are throwing themselves on the grass,
Rubbing the red dirt on their faces, their mouths ---"

Mercer Street
"Albert published the General Theory of Relativity in 1916.
After sleeping beneath the bed, refusing to eat,
Fuzzy limped in front of a moving car.
Time tells matter to move, matter tells time to curve."


All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

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The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
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