THIS IS HOW

PROVEN TO AID IN OVERCOMING SHYNESS, MOLESTATION, FATNESS, SPINSTERHOOD, GRIEF, DISEASE, LUSHERY, DECREPITUDE & MORE. FOR YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE.

Acclaimed memoirist Burroughs (You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas, 2009, etc.) charts new territory, offering his readers advice on life.

With a cinematic novel and a series of bestselling memoirs under his belt, the author now presents life advice that’s as unconventionally scattered as one would expect. His tongue-in-cheek guidance, predictably couched in personal anecdotes, opens with a chapter on rejecting the “superupbeat umbrella” of positive affirmations, and proceeds to deliver the straight, though clichéd, dope on bad love (“Abusive people never change”), the search for romantic connections (“get out of your own way”), weight loss (“real beauty comes from the inside”) and guilt-free self-pity (“sometimes you just feel like shit”). Most sections straddle the line between supportive empowerment and tough love and are written with the author’s characteristic dark humor, which consistently entertains and, as the pages turn, earnestly educates. Burroughs offers smart counsel on keeping communication honest (with yourself and others), the right to personal freedoms and the best mindset for a job interview; he also gives personal perspectives on his suicide attempt and how he conquered alcoholism. Some chapters focus constructively on self-esteem and positive affirmations, while others meander, as in a heartfelt piece on love that veers off to describe the benefits of residing on the southern tip of Manhattan. Both introspective and uneven, the outspoken author wraps everything up with an ethereal final chapter draped in the kind of mawkish Zen goodness that will work wonders for those in need of a morale booster. Despite pages of platitudes, Burroughs provides plenty of worthy material on the absurdity of the human condition and the unpredictability of contemporary life.  

 

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-56355-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

NIGHT

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

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

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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