Wickedly sharp reading filled to bursting with compassion, rage, pain and wit.

A journalist and award-winning author’s mordantly humorous memoir about caring for, and surviving, her terminally ill mother.

Hip Mama publisher Gore (All the Pretty People: Tales of Carob, Shame, and Barbie-Envy, 2011, etc.) was living in Portland, Ore., and raising a small son with her lesbian partner, Sol, when she discovered that her charming but violent and capricious mother, Eve, was dying of cancer. Convinced that she needed to do as the Tibetan yogis she admired did and “go to the places that scared [her],” she became Eve’s caregiver. Sol, in turn, demanded that they all move to the colorfully quirky city of Santa Fe, a place she had long romanticized—and where a female mime she had once loved still lived. But before Gore could even get resettled, her mother took over the house her daughter had bought and began renovating it. While the author and her family scrambled to make a life “out of stardust and panic,” Eve flirted outrageously with an Anaïs Nin scholar–turned-contractor, watched Hollywood noir movies and reminded everyone that she was dying. Spurred by this comically inappropriate behavior and memories of Eve re-enacting the wire hanger scene from Mommie Dearest for fun, Gore stood up to her mother—and got thrown out. In the meantime, Sol stalked her old girlfriend, and the life Gore had “always imagined she [wanted]” soon fell apart. Desperate to understand her own role in making “all this violence seem necessary and inevitable,” Gore fled to a house outside of Santa Fe where she began redefining the meaning of love. By turns tender and heartbreaking, Gore’s book is a brave, thoroughly authentic journey to the center of the human heart.

Wickedly sharp reading filled to bursting with compassion, rage, pain and wit.

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9860007-9-9

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Hawthorne Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014


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



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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