Stewart's gritty story will appeal to readers interested in her ex-husbands and her own rags-to-riches tale, rife with...

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A MEMOIR

Stewart reflects on her modeling and acting careers and her marriages to actor George Hamilton and rock star Rod Stewart.

Stewart (My Life with Farrah, 2009) grew up in Texas in the 1950s, the daughter of a single mother whose decades-long drug addiction eventually led to her death. Stewart's father left when she was only 1 year old, and she never heard from him again. Describing the effect of her father's absence, she writes, “[t]his has certainly been the pattern for most of life—looking for that 'powerful daddy' that would love me and make me feel safe yet choosing men who couldn't possibly fill those shoes.” Her beloved grandmother, whom she calls "Mama," was her primary caretaker. Following her high school graduation, Stewart got engaged to her first boyfriend, started working as a flight attendant, broke off her engagement, and was the victim of a home invasion and rape. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York, where her "glamorous years" began. Her striking beauty garnered her immediate success as a model, as well as enormous male attention. The author devotes a good portion of the book to her paramours and her volatile marriages to Hamilton and Stewart, both of whom were already famous. She lists famous friends, such as Elton John, and her book contains photographs with her husbands and various celebrities. In addition to Rod Stewart's infidelity, she writes of raising her three children—a son with Hamilton and a boy and a girl with Stewart—mostly on her own and of her ongoing financial problems. She details her sons' battles with drugs and the terrible guilt she carries for her perceived failings as a parent. Her recollections are surprisingly detailed—a result, she explains, of the many journals she's kept throughout her life.

Stewart's gritty story will appeal to readers interested in her ex-husbands and her own rags-to-riches tale, rife with kiss-and-tell vignettes and the personal insights she's gleaned as an adult.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59315-707-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Vanguard/Perseus

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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

NIGHT

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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