Outside Reading — Missing Christine edition

A Loving TV Portrait of a Woman in Full by Shane O’Neill

In remembrance of Louie Anderson, Shane O’Neill writes about the character he was instrumental in creating for the FX series Baskets. Although Christine Baskets was originally conceived by Zach Galifianakis and his collaborators, it was Anderson’s performance, based on his own mother, that clearly set the direction for the role. What seemed jokey stunt casting in the announcement of it proved instead to be inspired. In opposition to Galifianakis’s usual instinct for bruising cynicism, the show evolved to accommodate Christine’s kindness, vulnerability, and delicately honed survivor’s instinct. O’Neill elegantly considers the effect of Anderson’s skilled portrayal. This article is published by The New York Times.

The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir (2020) by Michele Harper

Michele Harper’s recollection of her life is largely centered on experiences with patients as she works as an emergency room physician, with telling dips into her fraught family history and truncated romantic relationships. Harper writes with world-weary insight, compellingly crafting portraits of the people in need who cross through the emergency department’s doors. In doing so, she craftily gets at the multitude of inequities and prejudices built into our health care system, including some that even she, a Black woman who’s routinely encountered some injustices, unwittingly perpetuates. The commentary never lapses into treatise, because Harper effectively keeps her writing grounded in the personal.

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