Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

Writing on books and authors, race and politics, family and childhood.


Why Do Women Love True Crime?

The first murder I remember was a ghost story, told at my summer camp in Michigan. I was around 12, so this was in the time of disco. At night, in a dark cabin, a girl told the rest of us about her older sister’s friend. Or maybe her friend’s older cousin: one of those twice-removed protagonists of a supposedly true account.
The New York Times Link to Story

In 'Unfollow,' a memoir about leaving a brutal church

Many people in Topeka, Kan., first became aware of the Westboro Baptist Church in the early 1990s, when members began what would become their trademark public action: picketing to protest what they saw as the ills of an ungodly world. Megan Phelps-Roper was 5 years old when it began; as a little girl, she stood with her parents and other family members — for that's what the church was at the time, one extended family — holding picket signs warning of gay people in the city's Gage Park.

Review: Gymnasts voice their fury in ‘The Girls’

The girls came from small towns and suburbs. All were energetic kids, climbing and tumbling and sending their parents scrambling for outlets for their daughters’ vibrant energy. They crossed paths with the predator in places where they should have been safe: gym, school, the doctor’s office. And they all came away from the encounters changed — even if it took years before they realized just how much, and why.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story

Ibram X. Kendi explores why ‘not racist’ doesn’t equal ‘anti-racist’

Kendi starts his book “How to Be an Antiracist” in 2000, when he was a high school senior delivering a speech in an oratorical contest. “The ideas that I shared in that speech were racist,” Kendi said. “That speech that I gave while in high school was probably the clearest indication of just how many anti-black racist ideas I had consumed.”.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

'In the Country of Women' review: A family's strong female roots

"In the Country of Women" by Susan Straight Photo Credit: Catapult. IN THE COUNTRY OF WOMEN: A MEMOIR by Susan Straight (Catapult, 384 pp., $26) Some memoirs look deeply inward, examining how the self is formed in the crucible of the world. Susan Straight’s “In the Country of Women” works in the opposite way: addressed to the author’s three daughters, this is a book that spirals outward, gathering and illuminating stories of ancestors, family and community.
Newsday Link to Story

In ‘Trick Mirror,’ the face of a major new talent

Back when she was 16, Jia Tolentino appeared on a reality television show called “Girls v. Boys: Puerto Rico,” in which a group of eight teenagers were set against each other to compete in a series of tasks in pursuit of a large cash prize. This was the fourth season of a show that began airing in 2003 — “the heyday of reality television,” Tolentino writes, “a relatively innocent time, before the bleak long trail of the industry had revealed itself.”.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Debut Book Tells Of The Real-Life Longings And Frustrations Of 'Three Women'

Female desire has been seen as a problem since long before Freud, vexed, wondered what on Earth women want. Entire vocabularies of insult are devoted to girls and women who dare to proclaim their existence as sexual beings. The protagonists in Lisa Taddeo's new book, Three Women, are not unusual in their complicated sexual histories; what makes their stories revolutionary is the exquisite candor with which Taddeo gives them voice.

‘Pop Culture Happy Hour’ host Linda Holmes steps up to the plate with debut novel

In Linda Holmes’s debut novel, a young widow meets a washed-up baseball player, a pitcher forced to leave the game because he has the yips — that mysterious condition that renders players unable to perform their primary task. Back when she started working on the book in 2012, Holmes knew she wanted to write about an athlete.

'My Parents' and 'This Does Not Belong to You' review: Gorgeous dual memoir from Aleksandar Hemon

MY PARENTS: An Introduction / THIS DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU, by Aleksandar Hemon. MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 384 pp., $28. Many years before he was born, Aleksander Hemon’s maternal great-grandfather in Bosnia encountered a pair of giants while traveling home on a horse-drawn sleigh. and maybe a little drunk — so he stood up in the sleigh and bade the horses go ahead and just slipped past them.
Newsday Link to Story

A Filipino-American’s story deals with racism, sexual abuse

Grace Talusan’s memoir, “The Body Papers,” started with essays — “short pieces, and images of memory,” she said — but grew to include letters, other documents, and photographs, many taken by Talusan’s photographer husband. The images add a variety of different perspectives to the author’s story of growing up in the Boston suburbs as a Filipino-American immigrant.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Review: ‘No Visible Bruises’ is both reportage and manifesto about domestic violence

Michelle and Rocky got together young, and quickly. By the time Michelle was just 17, the couple had two young children, but she still graduated from high school on time. Her family saw her as strong, smart, and proud. But they saw her less and less, as Rocky increasingly controlled her with violence and threats of violence.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story

Artist Chris Rush recounts life in the drug trade in ‘The Light Years’

Chris Rush was a Catholic kid, the middle child of seven in a brood headed by distracted, sometimes damaging parents. Their mother “regarded her children as her audience,” Rush writes, “and once we’d applauded, we could do as we wished.”. Like his mother, Rush had a flair for the dramatic — setting up a life-size statue of the Virgin Mary in his basement bedroom, swanning around in a pink cape he found at a thrift store — that set him apart from the other boys.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story


Kate Tuttle

I'm on the executive board of the National Book Critics Circle. My reviews and articles about books have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon,, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, lately of Georgia, now in New Jersey. Mother, wife, pal.

Feel free to email me at