A candid record of a difficult journey.

WALKING WITH SAM

A FATHER, A SON, AND FIVE HUNDRED MILES ACROSS SPAIN

A father and son take to the road.

Actor and travel writer McCarthy recounts an arduous, emotional five-week, 500-mile trek on the Camino de Santiago with his 19-year-old son, Sam, a walk that McCarthy had completed 25 years before, when he was in his early 30s and looking for insight. “Single and childless,” he recalls, “I was several years removed from a drinking habit that had derailed my life. I had put down cigarettes just eight months earlier. My movie career, which had once showed such promise, was essentially over. And I was terrified to be making this walk alone.” The second time around, instead of terror, he felt anxious hope that walking together would foster an “emotional transition” in his relationship with his son, which, he admits, had been rocky. For his part, Sam agreed to go on the walk in the aftermath of a romantic breakup. Irritable and self-absorbed, he was far less interested in talking to his father—his responses were often curt, punctuated by “whatever”—and much more focused on scrolling his phone, calling friends, and checking social media. For the few hundred miles, when Sam did talk, it was mostly about his ex, and sometimes about his parents’ divorce, which sent him back and forth between households. For his part, the author thought about his insecurities as a parent, his relationship with his angry, volatile father, and his capacity for happiness and love. The walk, McCarthy reflects, “acts as a receptacle for our fears, doubts, and resentments, while summoning our more noble traits.” As a travelogue, the narrative is no advertisement for the pilgrimage. The trail is blisteringly hot and dusty, and in villages along the way, the two encountered surly waiters, bad food, and inadequate places to stay. The walk, though, was never about the destination but rather about a father and son readying themselves for a new stage in their lives.

A candid record of a difficult journey.

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 9781538709207

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

LOVE, PAMELA

The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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