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The Cos again waxes funny on the commonplace happenings of life as we may know it.

With his patented good humor, Cosby (I Am What I Ate… and I'm Frightened!!!: And Other Digressions from the Doctor of Comedy, 2003, etc.) grouses, like many of his contemporaries, about kids today. As in previous collections, the memoir covers his own Golden Age, that long-gone middle of the 20th century in the projects of the City of Brotherly Love. He remembers the daring exploration peculiar to childhood, recalling the monkey bars in the outfield of his sandlot softball games, riding the trolley, the movie house and other local haunts—and of course, the girls. It’s part memoir, part shtick and mostly sly. Bible scholar Cosby offers his exegesis on Genesis, and he reworks his exasperation about the supremely ugly Cabbage Patch Dolls. His standup timing, still one of the best in the business, works in the single-pagers, but is more measured in the short stories as they search for vagrant punch lines. If there are fewer rim shots than in the past, Cosby is still quite entertaining, and the great George Booth provides apt illustrations. For fans, a small Philly cheesesteak, nonchalant as youth itself, by a comic master.


Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-89296-920-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Center Street/Hachette

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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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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