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Contains moments of charm, but offers little in the way of originality, insight or resonance.

A tale of father-and-son bonding from New York Times Sunday Styles columnist Morris.

The author was 44 when his mother passed away; his father Joe was nearing 80. Bob wanted to mourn and celebrate his mother, then move forward with his life. Joe wanted to do the same, but to him, moving forward meant finding himself a babe. Bob didn’t initially approve; he thought it might be a bit too soon for Dad to be dating. But he soon found himself sucked into his father’s quest and eventually spent an inordinate amount of time (successfully) procuring women for this elderly social butterfly. Bob began writing a column about Joe’s hunt for love, and the dating pool grew exponentially. What with all of Bob’s aiding and abetting, father and son grew closer than ever, leading to a happy (and schmaltzy) conclusion. Morris, who performed a truncated version of this book as a monologue at an off-Broadway theater in 2006, is a clever linguist; at one point he notes of his new boyfriend, “I like the Irish. Jack was gorgeously, redheadedly Irish.” Such turns of phrase, however, seem to work better on the stage than the page, and the Bob and Joe story is more fit for a brief performance—or an even briefer newspaper column—than a full-length book. The Morrises would be an enjoyable odd couple to have over for dinner, but they’re the kind of folks you’d forget about immediately after they left—the same can be said for this sweet but fluffy outing.

Contains moments of charm, but offers little in the way of originality, insight or resonance.

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-137412-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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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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