Though her approach might be a "shock to the system" for some, it will be crass and tedious to many.

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EVERYBODY CURSES, I SWEAR!

UNCENSORED TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES

The career arc of a TV personality who has "made a career and an art form out of swearing."

First-time author Keagan—the host and producer of VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live and the co-creator and lead anchor of YouTube's No Good TV—has thrived with her alternative to the tame, publicist-approved celebrity interview; instead, she encourages her invitees to be spontaneous and unfiltered, including the freedom to curse. When she tells her guests that "anything goes," they drop their guards and admit they feel liberated. While they are unrestricted, the challenge for her was to walk “a fine line between being fun & friendly, flirty & filthy, and being respectable…while I was being R-rated, the goal for me and my writers was to do it with intelligence and precision. More Howard Stern than Stuttering John.” Through her thousands of interviews, Keagan has learned that celebrities have "a penchant for profanity,” and she encourages readers to embrace vulgarities and reject prudish, proper language. Under the pretense of being authentic, the author describes Hollywood players and the pecking order with hundreds of inane synonyms for sex acts and body parts. This extends to dozens of sophomoric expressions for her own breasts. Keagan also includes several interview transcripts (Sandra Bullock, Nelly, Matt Damon, Quentin Tarantino, and others); unfortunately, they aren't especially humorous on the page and will make readers wonder if they were funnier on-screen. Despite the author’s endless enthusiasm and claims that these conversations were transgressive, they just don’t translate to print. Readers who agree with Keagan's premise that "people tend to get too hung up on words instead of the intent behind them”—or enjoy reading dozens of instances of celebrities swearing—will find plenty to entertain, but the author’s lack of sophistication and pointed social commentary make this 400-plus-page book a chore.

Though her approach might be a "shock to the system" for some, it will be crass and tedious to many.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-02620-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 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...

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

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