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A colorful, enthusiastic, if not especially original, approach to globe-trotting.

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An Irishwoman recalls years of travel in this breezy if flawed debut memoir by Doolan-Fox.

Doolan-Fox spent her earliest years living in North London, although her memories of Tottenham are sparse. When her Irish parents returned to Dublin in 1969, Ann, then a wide-eyed 6-year-old, stepped off the boat “seeing everything…in such gigantic form.” She had a modest upbringing and a father who was suffocatingly dictatorial. Her early stories of Dublin are laden with charm, such as when Bono, soon to be frontman of the band U2, would walk by her house each day on his way to school, bearing a downcast expression. Her father’s strictness eventually led her to run away from home at 18 to seek work in London before heading to Milan, where she made a living as a babysitter and a teacher’s assistant. Her wanderlust then took her to Paris, Madrid, New York, and Birmingham, England, before she found a prestigious job working in a patent office in The Hague, Netherlands, where she met her future husband, a U.S. airman. Doolan-Fox’s personable prose oozes with a passion for travel and a distracting penchant for ellipses and exclamation marks: “Gracias Espana!!! Although New York was calling, I would actually return to Madrid just a year later….You will just have to read on to find out how and why…..!!” Disappointingly, her descriptive techniques rely heavily on clichés (on New York: “I have never seen so many throngs of people, spilling out of concrete towers like ants rushing around in every direction”). She also tends to rely on films to convey context or emotion: “It felt for a moment like I had just signed my Life over to a religious sect or something. Have you ever seen the movie ‘The Firm’ with Tom Cruise?”

A colorful, enthusiastic, if not especially original, approach to globe-trotting.

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-73238-510-8

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Celtic Road Home

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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