A thoroughly enjoyable hybrid of flashy pictorial, artsy production, and outspoken autobiography.

DOLL PARTS

A singular fixture on the New York City club scene reveals the private details of her gender transition in a photo-heavy memoir.

Buxom performance artist Lepore, 49, boasts having “the most expensive body on earth,” yet her beginnings were humble. She was born Armand to a suburban New Jersey chemical engineer and his elegant, sophisticated “trophy wife.” The author’s early unhappiness, beginning at age 5, stemmed from a passionate yearning to become her truest self: a girl. Dreaming of long blonde hair and excitedly reaching for Barbies (“everything I wanted to be”) instead of Hot Wheels, Lepore frustrated her father and compassionately doted over her mother, who suffered from intermittent paranoid schizophrenia. Though her parents eventually separated, Lepore was determined to master makeup skills, the rules of femininity, the ability to please men with her body, and the wonder of hormones. This all led to the sex change procedure she had been envisioning to make her physically whole. A failed marriage behind her, she went on to conquer the Manhattan party scene in the 1990s with melodramatic appearances and adored performances. Complementing the author’s wonderfully candid, unrushed text are pages of impeccably styled, posed, and provocative photographs—many seminude—showcasing an obvious love of fashion, glamour, and pride in her own expensively enhanced female form. “I associate dressing up with mental stability,” writes the author, who doesn’t skimp on intimate personal details. Scattered throughout the book are sidebars of personal factoids and clever tips as well as snippets on everything from her personal grooming particulars and the dos and don’ts of female hair and nail care. Though confined to just a few pages, Lepore offers some sage advice for transgender youth and those embarking on their own journeys into gender transformation. Through generous photos and a narrative that could stand alone, this is a must-have collector’s item for readers eager for a glimpse into the unique world of a fearless chanteuse.

A thoroughly enjoyable hybrid of flashy pictorial, artsy production, and outspoken autobiography.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-942872-85-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Regan Arts

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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...

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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