A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions.

THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO

The provocative comedian takes to the pen in this unabashed memoir.

Before Schumer was the host of her own Comedy Central TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, and the star of Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck (2015), she was an idiosyncratic and adventurous teenager ready for any eventuality. This readiness was the product of many inconsistencies in her upbringing. Raised in a well-to-do family, Schumer basked in the financial success of her father’s furniture company. But when his business went bankrupt, their family took a hard blow: they left Manhattan for Long Island, her parents eventually divorced, and her ego shattered. Schumer, though, isn’t the type to spend hours dwelling on her unhappiness. Instead, she set out to make herself as impermeable as possible to the criticism, popularity contests, and dejections in her daily life. Structured in short essays, this memoir contains glimpses into Schumer’s roller-coaster life, from the loss of her virginity to her struggles with self-confidence. The author shares intimate excerpts from her personal diaries—with footnotes along the lines of, “I would love to know what the fuck I am talking about here. I must have been reading a heavy-handed Oprah book club pick”—and a series of family color photos. Schumer takes her readers through reminiscences by relating events that have most likely happened to all of us, and she engages readers, shedding new light on her motives and practices. Though the narrative sometimes lacks the literary appeal that distinguishes books from live comedy—and some readers might want to put it down and watch her show instead—it’s consistently funny and highly readable. “Anyone who does stand-up is delusional and masochistic….To get real laughs requires years and years. I got better little by little,” writes the author, who seems to have put the same effort into this candid, entertaining book.

A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3988-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2016

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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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