Honest, engaging and cathartic.

ASTONISHED

A STORY OF EVIL, BLESSINGS, GRACE, AND SOLACE

Donofrio (Looking for Mary, 2000, etc.) recounts her survival from rape at age 55 and subsequent spiritual journey.

Best known for Riding in Cars with Boys (1990), her first memoir about her teenage pregnancy and single motherhood, the author was raised Catholic. As an adult, following years without religious practice, Donofrio developed a deep love for and affinity with the Virgin Mary and returned to Catholicism. In 2006, while living peacefully as an expat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Donofrio awoke to find herself held at knife point by the town's serial rapist. "I did not want to believe in a God that would let this happen," she writes at the book's beginning. After the man was caught weeks later, Donofrio remained unsettled, wrestling with feelings of having been violated and spiritual questions concerning good and evil. In search of stillness and safety, she planned to leave for six months to visit five places, most of which were monasteries. The bulk of the narrative follows this pilgrimage, which included stays with the Trappists at St. Benedict and the Carmelites at Nada Hermitage, both in Colorado, and at a friend's Missouri retreat center. Donofrio devoted her days to prayer and meditation, as well as the study of spiritual writings, which she lists in the narrative. Her story is one of reconciliation; she felt herself grow closer to Jesus while shedding some of her decades-old protective holding patterns and bitterness toward men. She considered, then decided against, becoming a nun. The conclusion of her journey, following her torrent of questions for and about divine power, lies in her realization that her faith is unshakeable and her attack, ultimately, showed her the heart of God.

Honest, engaging and cathartic.

Pub Date: March 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0670025756

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more