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Ultimately, the book is a page-turner, albeit one in which the need for the readers’ approval is felt on nearly every page.

A highly candid, tell-all memoir from the cult-favorite actress.

In a book that often reads like a Real World confessional or an open diary, the Cougar Town star bares all in recounting her rise to fame: from childhood passion to become an actress to fraught teen years getting in with the wrong crowd and terminating a pregnancy to facing sexism in Hollywood to dating Colin Hanks to landing a role on Dawson’s Creek to countless failed auditions to falling in love with and then considering divorcing her husband. While the honesty is refreshing, much like her Instagram persona, the narrative occasionally comes across as narcissistic. Philipps is open about her overwhelming need to be liked and included, a sentiment that provides the throughline of the book. For example, she chronicles the time she dislocated her knee at a middle school dance because she wanted to see why boys where moshing to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” “That is what I get for wanting to know what was going on,” she writes, “for wanting to be a part of things, for wanting more….It’s too bad I didn’t realize the life lesson I was being handed. Because maybe, possibly, it would have saved me from even more pain in the years to come.” At the same time, Philipps is happy to dole out some literary retribution, calling out some of those who have wronged her—e.g., she calls Freaks & Geeks co-star James Franco “a fucking bully” and Modern Family director Steven Levitan “a fucking asshole” who enjoys “the joy of being an oblivious super successful white man” in showbiz. But while the author is quick to point the finger, she's also her own harshest critic. In explaining her Instagram use, she writes, “the reason I started the stories…was because I was lonely.”

Ultimately, the book is a page-turner, albeit one in which the need for the readers’ approval is felt on nearly every page.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-8471-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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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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