An inspiring story of an immigrant achieving his American dream.


In this debut memoir, the author fondly recounts his experiences as a Yugoslavian immigrant in the United States.

In 1984, Boban Petrovic (the name Blagojevic gives himself in this book) arrived in Los Angeles with his wife, Ana. Having come from a Communist country, Boban was surprised by the American way of life, with its enormous cars, endless freeways, bountiful supermarkets, and countless TV channels. He did not have much money at the time and he was not fluent in English, but “he firmly believed that hard work and determination would ultimately lead to a better life.” His story unfolds year by year, from 1984 to 2004. Much of it is a chronicle of the various jobs he had—from delivering pizzas and newspapers to working as a structural engineer, a restaurant manager, and a real estate agent. With his extraordinary work ethic and optimistic outlook—as well as some good luck here and there—he was able to overcome great obstacles and achieve his goals. As the years went by, Boban celebrated one milestone after another: having a son, earning a college degree, becoming a citizen, and buying his first home. There were troubles, too—his son had difficulties at school, for example, and the restaurant business was a bit of a headache—but Boban never allowed these things to discourage him or define his life. With all of the problems surrounding immigration today, it is encouraging to come across an émigré’s story that is filled with enthusiasm, happiness, and success. Early on, the author joyfully recalls a high point during his pizza-delivery days: a customer gave him one dollar as a tip (“My first tip in the United States! Yes!”). There are times when Blagojevic’s interest in himself becomes somewhat tedious (recounting test scores from college, for example). But as a whole, this memoir engages the reader from beginning to end. The author is an entertaining narrator with a knack for amusing anecdotes. He has an intriguing tale to share, and a captivating way of telling it.

An inspiring story of an immigrant achieving his American dream.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5472-8108-4

Page Count: 438

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


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

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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