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June 16, 2008
Read it on purpose

We don't usually cover books at 21Q, but this one has a movie tie-in: Mary Pols, former movie critic at the Contra Costa Times, has written a terrific memoir called "Accidentally on Purpose" (HarperCollins, 272 pages, $24.95).

Beginning on the night she got pregnant -- by a nice young man she didn't know very well -- "Accidentally on Purpose" details Pols' transition from 39-year-old single film critic to working mom trying to negotiate motherhood, a career and a tricky relationship with her child's father.

There's loads of insight along the way, punctuated by tremendously funny and achingly sad passages and related with a level of candor that's unusual even for a memoir. Reading "Accidentally on Purpose" is like entering someone's mind and heart.

I couldn't put it down. And I'm not saying this because I know her -- because I didn't really know her until I read the book.

Most of the times I have seen her -- at film screenings or at meetings of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, a group Mary founded -- we have talked almost exclusively about movies. And real life, as we all know, is far more interesting. "Accidentally on Purpose" testifies to that.

For information on the book, click here ...

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