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Carolla’s sharp-edged and occasionally curmudgeonly observations will be an acquired taste for many, but initiated fans will...

Outspoken comedian, podcaster and TV host Carolla (Not Taco Bell Material, 2012) presents a mock presidential bid to “make this country better.”

Hypothesizing a run for the Oval Office as an anti–big-government candidate with a “common-man touch,” Carolla offers a satirical, potty-mouthed blueprint on how contemporary America—a country he feels is being destroyed by overcaffeinated “pervasive narcissism”—could run more efficiently. Categorized by departments of the federal government, his pragmatically imagined “Carolla administration” would naturally solve a cavalcade of vexing predicaments by axing the bumbling office of vice president, repairing the economy by defusing overregulation—he uses the limited distribution of his own “Mangria” wine product as an example—and courtesy-policing lawless air travel (“we’re getting fatter by the day…and ruder. This is a terrible combination, especially in a flying tin can”). With equal ire, the author gets fired up over vanity plates, NASA, and the mannerless, inappropriate morons hijacking the general population. A spoofed address to the United Nations General Assembly attacks a ministry of global leaders on their crappy performance records (“get your shit together”). But Carolla is an equal opportunity offender who throws the gauntlet down where he sees fit, regardless of affronting the audience. His rants and solutions may be cutthroat and often sophomoric, but they’re also relatable and sure to echo the sentiments of many Americans—hence, his popularity as a social commentator. A modern-day Andy Rooney, Carolla, informed by pre-fame years working at McDonald’s and odd construction jobs, skewers the American way of life while pitching bitchy asides at every turn.

Carolla’s sharp-edged and occasionally curmudgeonly observations will be an acquired taste for many, but initiated fans will endorse his amusing candidacy.

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-232040-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: It Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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