Smart, sassy and surprisingly wise.



An actress and comedian’s episodic ruminations about the painful blunders that helped shape her as a person and a successful stand-up comic.

For Tyler, comedians are a breed apart—“lack of shame is our superpower [and] humiliation is fuel for [our] art.” She demonstrates her commitment to her calling by transforming stories drawn from her life into fodder for laughter. The daughter of two African-American vegetarian hippies, Tyler was “seven kinds of weird” from the start. She was also an accident-prone bungler. When she was just 5 years old, she managed to slice herself from “nose to navel” after getting thrown from a rusted hobbyhorse. At 7, she nearly set herself on fire and burned down her apartment after a kitchen experiment in deep-frying went hopelessly awry. Her teenage years were equally rife with embarrassments. Wearing clothes that made her look like “Boyz II Men had gotten in a fight with an angry thrift store,” she managed such ignominious feats as getting followed, and then caught, by her father at an underground San Francisco nightclub, taking the SAT with a massive hangover, and spewing vomit on two boys she liked two separate times. Tyler did her first comedy sketch—which involved her dressing in drag as a drunken frat boy—for classmates at Dartmouth. From that point on, she was “completely in love” with comedy, although she would not pursue it seriously until after she discovered that working for a living “suck[ed] major ass.” Tyler’s work is refreshing not just for its unabashed candor, but also for its humorous insights into the human capacity for screwing up and bouncing back. Things “will go wrong. Terribly mind-blowingly wrong.” But under no circumstances should it stop someone from pursuing their dreams.

Smart, sassy and surprisingly wise.

Pub Date: July 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222377-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: It Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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