An up-to-date if not in-depth introduction to a topic that has certainly affected many people’s lives throughout the ages.

TYING THE KNOT

A WORLD HISTORY OF MARRIAGE

Royal weddings, a campaign for toilets in India linked to marriage, and trash-the-dress photo shoots (a new U.S. custom) are introduced in this whirlwind tour of courtship, marriage, and divorce.

Using catchy chapter headings (“Control Freaks” focuses on the historical, political, and economic reasons for marriage), this slim volume offers a cursory glance at marriage in many religions, the ancient world, and some contemporary cultures, primarily the U.S. and Great Britain. China, Japan, and India are mentioned, while most European cultures are lumped together. The chapter on polygamy, “More Ways Than One,” starts off highlighting Zulu traditions with Jacob Zuma, the South African president with four current wives. Scant information about Latin America, the Middle East, and the Pacific region appears. Same-sex marriage and interfaith and interracial marriage are covered in “Forbidden Love,” which starts with celebrity couples such as David Bowie and Iman (white and black, Christian and Muslim) and Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka (two men). The legal struggles for interracial marriage (1967 Loving v. Virginia) and same-sex marriage (2015 Obergefell v. Hodges) are summarized, but the last sentence of the chapter again refers back to famous couples. This celebrity approach and such sections as “Over-the-Top Weddings,” along with references to YouTube and Vimeo, seem meant to ensure teen interest. Photographs (mostly in color) are clear and relevant. Readers can tease out interesting takes on feminism and women’s history. Some self-help sidebars on dating and relationships are generalized and superfluous.

An up-to-date if not in-depth introduction to a topic that has certainly affected many people’s lives throughout the ages. (source notes, glossary, selected bibliography, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4677-9242-4

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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The proximity to pain makes for a choppy narrative but also vitally draws attention to a global crisis

HIDDEN GIRL

THE TRUE STORY OF A MODERN-DAY CHILD SLAVE

This memoir of modern domestic slavery ends with hope and determination, as young author Hall (born Shyima El-Sayed Hassan) is “one of the fortunate 2 percent” to be freed from servitude.

Shyima’s childhood in Egypt ends when her parents are blackmailed into turning over their 8-year-old daughter to a wealthy couple. Every day, Shyima cleans the five-story house and the 17-car garage, “standing on a stool doing the dishes” because she’s too tiny to reach the sink. When she’s 10, Shyima’s captors move to California, illegally trafficking her into the U.S. After two more years of hard labor and increasing ill health, a worried neighbor calls the police, and Shyima’s journey into freedom begins. A chain of Muslim and Christian foster parents (some protective, others exploitative) leads her to become an anti-slavery activist. Unsurprisingly, Hall’s representations of Arab and Muslim men are filtered through her appalling experiences. Though she acknowledges misogyny “is not what the Muslim faith is about,” readers should expect to find depictions that hew closely to negative stereotypes. Those readers prepared to brave a dense, adult tome could move from Hall’s memoir to John Bowe’s Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy (2007) for a deeper look.

The proximity to pain makes for a choppy narrative but also vitally draws attention to a global crisis . (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8168-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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An important story drowned in illegibility and exposition.

FORGIVENESS

THE STORY OF EVA KOR, SURVIVOR OF THE AUSCHWITZ TWIN EXPERIMENTS

A biography, in comic form, of a survivor of Josef Mengele’s horrific experiments on twins.

Eva and Miriam Mozes are twins, born in 1934 to the only Jewish family in their Romanian village. Though Papa, fearing the antisemitism of interwar Romania, wants the family to flee to safety in Palestine, Mama argues against it. And so it is that they are still in Romania when their home is invaded by Hitler’s ally, Hungary. Following an all-too-familiar story, the Mozes family is sent first to the ghetto and then on to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Torn away from their family, the girls are brought to Mengele for his nightmarish twin experiments. The graphic form mercifully makes it difficult to provide much detail of the stomach-churning tortures Mengele inflicted on those he found lesser, though the blocky illustrations certainly feature starvation, death, and disease. After the girls are liberated by the Soviets, they begin the second part of their ordeal: living with their trauma. Two extremely dense chapters detail the next 74 years, eventually building to the journey Eva would take late in her life toward liberating herself by forgiving the Nazis. This overstuffed survivor tale owes less to Maus than it does to the For Beginners series of graphic nonfiction. Dense blocks of historical play-by-play, ungainly prose, and hard-to-read lettering make this a slog.

An important story drowned in illegibility and exposition. (Graphic biography. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68435-178-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Red Lightning Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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