GEEZING ALONG AT 80

LIVING, LOVING AND LAUGHING AFTER 80

A fun memoir by a man who’s grown old without growing grumpy.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

An octogenarian takes a lighthearted view of questions he faces in his 80s, such as “How Have I Lived So Long, Yet Learnt So Little?”

Debut memoirist Anastasi has accomplished what only a skilled writer in the genre can do—hook the reader with a purely personal life story that in less capable hands might have interested only family and friends. He’s writing for his cohort and those on the cusp of it as well as for young people who, he notes, consider themselves immortal—so, pretty much everyone. Anastasi tells an amusing tale in a format that fits him to a T: a mixture of memoir and musings that recount some of his exploits in the impish voice of the rascal he clearly was in his school days. A former writer for the Army and sportswriter at the old Washington Daily News, he hasn’t lost his touch for punchy writing. (When someone says at an open-coffin visitation that the decedent “looks so good,” Anastasi muses, “Well, I’ve seen him looking better!”) His sense of humor aside, his book has serious passages about widespread concerns, among them health, personal connections, and insomnia. Anastasi also touches lightly on his work as a public information officer for the federal government, which led to his writing a Mother’s Day speech for President Gerald R. Ford. He takes some contrary stances that are hard to argue with, such as that people his age have earned the right to eat and say anything they want and to skip exercise. Something of an icon among the 80-plus crowd, Anastasi proudly says that his photo was on the cover of GQ—not the tony men’s magazine but Geezer Quarterly. Anecdotes highlight his Italian American perspective, including a wry critique of various styles of pre-funeral viewings of the deceased. Family snapshots bring to life the memories in a book that, with just 73 pages, is a breezy read.

A fun memoir by a man who’s grown old without growing grumpy.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-916467-92-7

Page Count: 103

Publisher: L.R. Price Publications Ltd

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 47


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

TANQUERAY

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 47


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 18


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

LOVE, PAMELA

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 18


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Close Quickview