Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR Book Review

The founder of anything, specifically when you are a member of a group who has been disenfranchised is more than the creation itself. It is breaking boundaries and making it easier for future generations to follow in your footsteps.

Cokie Roberts, Susan Stamberg, Nina Totenberg, and Linda Wertheimer were all born into an era in which the expectations of women were limited. They could have followed the prescribed path of marriage and motherhood. Instead, they took what was then the less traveled path and became journalists. Their combined story is told in the new book, Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR. Written by Lisa Napoli, it was published earlier this year.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the career doors were starting to bust open for women. At the same time, the concept of radio was also changing. In April of 1971, NPR aired its first broadcast. As with many new businesses, they had open jobs to fill and were not as picky about who they hired as more established enterprises. As the years passed, these women became formidable and respected, changing the game and giving new voice to those who in the past had been silenced.

Though it is a little slow to start, when it takes off, it really takes off. It is a fascinating read, What I found interesting, is that this book is not just the individual stories of these women. It is the story of how women in general have come a long way in only half a century.

As a fan of NPR and avid listener of my local station, WNYC, it is a good read that is well worth your time.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.


Clueless Character Review: Amber Mariens

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. There are two types of people in this world. The first are tried and true, staying with us through whatever life throws at us. The second type have ulterior motives that may or may not be obvious to the people around them.

In Clueless, Amber Mariens (Elisa Donovan) is described by Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) as Monet.

“From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big old mess.”

A modern version of Augusta Elton, Amber can be described as a fair weather friend. She hangs out with Cher and her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), but only to gain the access she needs to usurp their social status. When it comes to Cher and Dionne, everything with her is a competition. Though she tolerates Tai Fraser (the late Brittany Murphy) post-makeover, it is only because she has joined their social circle. When she sees an opportunity to hook up with Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto), this adaptation’s answer to Mr. Elton, it is her chance to get one up on Cher and Tai. This is after Elton turns down Tai and Cher rejects Elton’s advances.

To sum it up: If there has to be a baddie in this film, Amber comes pretty close. She is only it in for herself and when the door opens to use her “friendships” to gain the upper hand, she will use it. We, as the audience, may not like her and may see through her, but her existence creates the balance needed to increase Cher’s likability.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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