An affecting memoir that takes readers into the struggles of a life-threatening condition.

RAINBOWS IN THE STORM

Cairns’ debut recounts her emotional journey of caring for two ill children, culminating in her daughter’s heart transplant.

When the Australian author was 19 years old, her parents introduced her to her future husband, then-15-year-old Lucas, and his family: “I could never have known…one day, that family, along with the health challenges ahead they had to face, would become mine too.” Years later, she and Lucas fell in love, got married, and moved from Sydney to the small town of Grafton, where they raised their young boy, Elijah. Soon they had a daughter, Luka-Angel, who was born with viral meningitis. After the birth of their third child, Jazziah, a doctor realized that the two youngest children had congenitally weak hearts—a condition called cardiomyopathy, which ran in the Cairns family. The children struggled to live normal lives with a condition that had the potential to put them into cardiac arrest with too much exertion. Finally, the family made the terrifying decision to put Luka on a waitlist for a heart transplant, despite the risks. They flew across the country at a moment’s notice so that young Luka could undergo the dangerous, life-changing procedure. The memoir’s first third is dragged down by tangential stories about family life and an upsetting account of an abusive neighbor. However, Cairns narrates the transplant itself with great care, depicting the delirium that comes from waiting countless hours for news as well as the long and uneasy road to full recovery. She’s also very effective at relating the sadness of restricted childhoods; at one point, for instance, she tells of having to drag young Jazz away from a race that he wanted to run. The author mixes in intimate diary entries, drawings, and photos that will help to give readers a fuller view of her emotional state throughout her ordeal.

An affecting memoir that takes readers into the struggles of a life-threatening condition.

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-973622-45-1

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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