Both heart-wrenching and deeply inspiring. Imagine communicating with your daughter for the first time—at 10 years old: “I...

CARLY'S VOICE

BREAKING THROUGH AUTISM

The anarchy of lives dictated by autism, for both the autistic person and the immediate family, rawly detailed by one such parent.

The first pages of this memoir/biography might have you convinced that Fleischmann has little more than a threnody to offer regarding life with his daughter Carly, who has severe autism and oral apraxia: “She made odd movements and sounds and covered her ears when it was noisy. She cried often. And she never, ever stopped moving. Never.” Through a series of never-ending downbeats (“Always the incessant rocking. The rocking became the manifestation of everything I hated about Carly’s condition”), coupled with his wife’s diagnosis of lymphoma (“I was beginning to feel like Haiti. Or Sri Lanka. A place where natural disasters just start coming and don’t have the good sense to stop”), readers can’t help but sympathize with the author and his family. Fleischmann displays brutal, disarming honesty, though toward the beginning of the book some readers may wonder when enough is enough. But then something happens, and it becomes clear that the author has been quietly setting the stage all along: introducing Carly’s teachers, explaining the applied behavioral analysis technique they use with her, touching on every step forward and all the steps back. One day Carly started to communicate through her computer—haltingly but intelligibly—and her parents learned that she was not as oblivious as they thought when they were speaking rather frankly in front of her. To read along as she expresses her feelings in conversations with her father is almost as stunning as when she writes of life inside her autistic head: “It’s like being in a room with the stereo on full blast. It feels like my legs are on fire and over a million ants are climbing up my arms.” Is it any wonder she still has behavioral outbursts?

Both heart-wrenching and deeply inspiring. Imagine communicating with your daughter for the first time—at 10 years old: “I could be more than a caregiver: I could actually be her father.”

Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9414-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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