LET ME HEAR YOUR VOICE

A FAMILY'S TRIUMPH OVER AUTISM

A vivid and uplifting story of how a family pulled not one but two children out of the torments of autism—and into a normal life. Maurice is the pseudonym for a mother of three whose courage and determination overrode the pessimistic prognosis that ``autism is incurable.'' She was already pregnant with her third child when her one-year-old daughter, Anne-Marie, was diagnosed as autistic. Maurice and her husband cast about to find not merely a relief from symptoms but a cure, finally adopting the form of behavior modification found successful in carefully controlled studies by O. Ivar Lovaas, a California-based researcher. The program involved a daily regimen of repetitious training, the resetting of patterns of behavior that had gone awry, and the replacement of sympathy by discipline, interrupting the child's repetitive motions and self- withdrawal no matter how she resisted or cried. The family hired a teacher skilled in behavior modification who worked with Anne-Marie every day, as well as a speech therapist who visited three times a week. To counter what she at first felt were the mechanistic techniques of behavior modification, Maurice also took up ``holding therapy,'' which calls for holding the child tightly for at least an hour a day. It was the behavioral techniques that succeeded, and, in less than two years, the girl was pronounced ``normal''—as was Maurice's younger son, also autistic. Unlike other recent books about children who've recovered from autism (e.g., Donna Williams's Nobody Nowhere, 1992), this offers not only hope but a road map, with names, addresses, and phone numbers for Lovaas and others. (Caveat: Behavioral therapy, Maurice says, benefits measureably only about 50% of autistic kids.) Powerful in her detailing and in her intelligent, honest observations, Maurice offers new strength to parents who refuse to give up on their autistic children.

Pub Date: June 10, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-40863-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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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 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

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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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