A remarkable exploration of pregnancy.

THE ROOM LIT BY ROSES

A JOURNAL OF PREGNANCY AND BIRTH

The diary of Maso’s (Defiance, 1998, etc.) pregnancy.

In her 40s, Maso decides to have a baby. Her record of pregnancy begins with the observation that everything “is enlarged” by it—her hunger, her breasts, and her emotions. She is terrified that she will lose the baby. At a farm, she lifts heavy pumpkins and is ambivalent about her every gesture: will schlepping squash trigger a miscarriage? But should she become an invalid for nine months? Maso mentally compares the possibly-knocked-up 15-year-old who checks her panties for menstrual blood every 20 minutes, hoping for a sign of her period, with the definitely-pregnant-but-might-miscarry 40-year-old who makes the same inspection with far different hopes. After the first trimester is over, Maso relaxes a bit. She envisions sending nutrients to her daughter through her placenta (“Placenta is the Latin word for cake, which is pretty great”). She loves her swelled shape—more “like a beached whale than a person.” She plays happily with her nieces and nephews, who are amazed that she can have a baby without being married, and she has a spiritual awakening: “The Lord is with thee. . . . Never have I understood these words as I understand them now.” But in the eighth month, things begin to go wrong: the baby stops moving, and Maso’s doctor induces labor, not sure little Rose will make it. But Rose is born. Maso gives us only a glimpse of life with Rose: she resents La Leche’s insistence that she breastfeed her child, and her relationship with her partner is predictably strained by the introduction of a newborn. But these are minor complications in the face of what she has gained: a new life.

A remarkable exploration of pregnancy.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-58243-088-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2000

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