Henry Gregor Felsen

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Barbara Campbell

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[In Living with Your First Motorcycle] Felsen offers nononsense, pragmatic advice for new motorcycle riders that drives home the importance of learning a responsible attitude at the outset. According to the author, the most difficult part of owning a bike is not its upkeep and endurance, but rather learning to live with the motorcycle's limitations (the automobile is still the king of the American road) as well as the rider's own. This is not primarily a how-to-ride nor a how-to-fix-it manual, although there are chapters on both. The book's strongest point is its emphasis on learning to ride the right way so as to ensure staying in one piece as well as enjoyable motorcycling. (pp. 132-33)

Barbara Campbell, "The Book Review: 'Living with Your First Motorcycle'," in School Library Journal (reprinted from the September, 1976 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation: copyright © 1976), Vol. 23, No. 1, September, 1976, pp. 132-33.

"To the kid who will read this book and not believe a word of it … yet." Felsen's dedication [in Can You Do It Until You Need Glasses?: The Different Drug Book] is enough to turn anyone off, and he doesn't ingratiate himself by declaring that, as his readers no doubt know as much about drugs and more about teen drug use than he does, his book will not be about drugs but about "you": "… I think I know more about you than you do." Though there might be merit in the psychological approach, what this turns out to be is a meandering, mean-spirited, know-it-all attempt to dissuade kids from drug taking—even though Felsen admits at the outset that his readers are likely to try it anyway. The behavior of a horse on loco weed and the problem of nuclear waste disposal are some of Felsen's more relevant digressions—unless you count analogies to the girl who won't recognize that she's fat and the man who doesn't change the filter in his car because it's worked okay so far. As for "you," there are questions to ponder: Do you pamper yourself at every opportunity? Are you a slave to custom? Can you really believe you are human? (Can he believe that this is psychology?) And try this for logic: If "pot" is harmless, would you want your brain surgeon or pilot to smoke it? No? They are too important? Ergo, "Smoking pot is the best bad habit anyone unimportant can have. And that can't be you, can it?" This might be the worst good advice kids have been subjected to since that other old windbag, Arthur H. Cain, stopped nagging them in print.

"Young Adult Non-Fiction: 'Can You Do It Until You Need Glasses?: The Different Drug Book'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1977 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLV, No. 14, July 15, 1977, p. 731.

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