A sweet, inspiring tale of overcoming troubles through faith.


Hanging on to Hope

In this debut memoir, a woman confronts her life’s challenges, armed with a deeply held faith.

Newcomb says that she “gave [her] life” to Jesus when she was only 16 years old at a First Baptist Church rally in Van Nuys, California. In her senior year, she met her future husband, who interned at her youth group; she was immediately drawn to him and impressed by the depth of his belief. She later left UCLA after one year after deciding that she wanted to pursue a life with more religious purpose. She and her new husband moved to Florida in 1985, and she was pregnant by 1987. But after a bladder infection sparked a kidney ailment, she nearly lost her baby, who was born prematurely. She overcame this trial through prayer, but other adversities followed: a second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage; financial hardships stripped the family of their home; and Newcomb’s father and father-in-law both died suddenly. Years later, her second son, a tumultuous teenager, refused to work or attend school, and he left home at 18 when his parents confronted him with an ultimatum. Newcomb’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she says, was too much for her husband to bear, and he became emotionally abusive; she was finally compelled to file for divorce. The stress was pulverizing for her, and she attempted suicide. However, she says she was able to save her life, and even her marriage, by trusting in the Lord. Overall, Newcomb’s story is an uplifting one, and it will likely appeal to those readers who have also found comfort from suffering by embracing spirituality; her spiritual practice, as depicted here, allowed her to persevere through a lifetime of tribulations. Her prose is direct and clear, like an intimate anecdote shared with trusted, religious friends, and its tone is forthcoming and familiar: “I finally learned the secret that Paul was talking about in Philippians. It’s simply to trust God completely with absolutely everything.” The book’s principal message is neither groundbreaking nor philosophically deep, but its purpose is to stir and hearten, not edify or provoke.

A sweet, inspiring tale of overcoming troubles through faith.

Pub Date: March 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-3578-9

Page Count: 138

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 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 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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An informative, nostalgic evocation of a special urban dining experience.


An account of once-popular New York restaurants that had a rich social and cultural history.

“Since, by choice or historical necessity, exile and travel were defining aspects of Jewish life, somewhere a Jew was always eating out,” observes cartoonist and MacArthur fellow Katchor (Illustration/Parsons, the New School; Hand-Drying in America, 2013, etc.) in his exhaustively researched, entertaining, and profusely illustrated history of Jewish dining preferences and practices. The Garden of Eden, he notes wryly, was “the first private eating place open to the public,” serving as a model for all the restaurants that came after: cafes, cafeterias, buffets, milk halls, lunch counters, diners, delicatessens, and, especially, dairy restaurants, a favorite destination among New York Jews, which Katchor remembers from his wanderings around the city as a young adult. Dairy restaurants, because they served no meat, attracted diners who observed kosher laws; many boasted a long menu that included items such as mushroom cutlet, blintzes, broiled fish, vegetarian liver, and fried eggplant steak. Attracted by the homey appearance and “forlorn” atmosphere of these restaurants, Katchor set out to uncover their history, engaging in years of “aimless reading in the libraries of New York and on the pages of the internet,” where he found menus, memoirs, telephone directories, newspaper ads, fiction, and food histories that fill the pages of his book with colorful anecdotes, trivia, and food lore. Although dairy restaurants were popular with Jewish immigrants, their advent in the U.S. predated immigrants’ demand for Eastern European meatless dishes. The milk hall, often located in parks, resorts, or spas, gained popularity throughout 19th-century Europe. Franz Kafka, for example, treated himself to a glass of sour milk from a milk pavilion after a day in a Prague park. Jews were not alone in embracing vegetarianism. In Europe and America, shunning meat was inspired by several causes, including utopian socialism, which sought to distance itself from “the beef-eating aristocracy”; ethical preferences; and health concerns. A meatless diet relieved digestive problems, many sufferers found.

An informative, nostalgic evocation of a special urban dining experience.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8052-4219-5

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Schocken

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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