Life with Barbra, when she was Barbara, from the former boyfriend who helped set her on the road to fame and fortune. Though Streisand has tended to slight the efforts of those who shaped her early career, she has all but ignored actor and scriptwriter Dennen. However, playing Henry Higgins to her Eliza Doolittle, it was Dennen, apparently, who encouraged her to pursue singing when she was focused exclusively on acting, who pushed her to audition, who urged her to treat songs like compact dramas, who taped and critiqued almost every performance. In short, he did everything except teach her to sing. When they first met, brought together in a forgettable play, Streisand was still in her teens and Dennen not much older. Both of them were desperately, and usually unsuccessfully, pursuing the lights of Broadway. It was one of those meetings that create show-biz history. She brought raw, unburnished talent; he brought an unrivaled knowledge of show tunes and great chanteuses backed by a huge record collection, and he had a high-quality tape recorder. Although Dennen had doubts about his heterosexuality, the two soon became lovers. It lasted a little more than a year, falling apart just as Streisand's career really began to take off. Streisand fans will find much of this story familiar, but they will surely be delighted with the details and insights Dennen provides. He is a graceful writer, though his camp sensibility can border on clichÇ; despite some frank, even harsh appraisals, he sometimes swoons vapidly: ``If you met St. Peter at heaven's gate and he asked you what good you had done . . . I would say, `I helped give the world Barbra Streisand.' '' A full and rare look at Streisand before she disappeared into a fog of myth and publicity. (14 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1997

ISBN: 1-57392-160-2

Page Count: 281

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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

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