Unsavory account of the suffering of Sharon Tate’s family in the aftermath of her murder and her mother Doris' and sister Patti's subsequent rise to national prominence as advocates of victims' rights.

It would be impossible not to feel sympathy for the Tate family following the horrifying events of 1969. After witnessing the murders of three of her friends, Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her death, was hanged and fatally stabbed. Unfortunately, this book by Statman and Brie Tate, Sharon’s niece, is luridly exploitative and shrilly self-righteous. It may be unfair to ascribe less-than-saintly motives to any member of the Tate family, who arguably have the right to tell (and sell) their story in any way they choose, but it’s difficult to imagine what noble purpose is served by lingering over Sharon's dying words or the exact dimensions of her stab wounds. The authors would likely argue that emphasizing the killers' savagery is crucial to securing the public's opposition to their release. Throughout the book, Statman and Tate shift perspectives and time so much that readers will become disoriented. Furthermore, the prose is overly cliché-ridden—e.g., Sharon's eyes “twinkle with the faith of her dreams”; her parents were both “as set in their ways as a grape stain to white pants and equally as stubborn”; “their love was as preserved and age-worn as a pressed rose hidden in a Bible”; cancer is “a thief in the night.” Indeed, many sentences read like bad translations: “My inflamed opinion may have a biased tone, but the hippie trend is not my favorite culture.” The authors' most laudable goal is to pay tribute to Sharon's mother, Doris. Though some readers will disagree with her politics, she was also an admirably determined person who channeled her grief and rage into decades of service to others. Horrifies more often than it enlightens. Not recommended.  


Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200804-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: It Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012


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



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

Close Quickview