An eclectic mix of mystery, memoir, and the supernatural.

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The Boy Who Knew Too Much

AN ASTOUNDING TRUE STORY OF A YOUNG BOY'S PAST LIFE MEMORIES

In Byrd’s touching debut memoir, a little boy stuns his parents by declaring that he was the baseball player Lou Gehrig in a previous life.

When Christian Haupt was only a toddler, he was singularly enthralled by the sport of baseball. Although he was still too young to play the game, he talked about it constantly, refused to wear anything else but a baseball uniform, and seemed peculiarly disinterested in other, typical attractions of his peers, including toys, television, or even other children. He also sometimes referred to himself as an alter ego named “Baseball Konrad.” Byrd, Christian’s mother, recorded a video of him playing ball in 2011 and posted it on YouTube in the hope of winning him the privilege of throwing out the first pitch of the season for his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. The video was a sensation and ultimately led to Christian making a cameo appearance in the 2012 Adam Sandler movie That’s My Boy. It turned out that Christian’s indefatigable enthusiasm was coupled with genuinely precocious athletic talent. Byrd writes that one day in 2011, the young boy, still only 2 years old, started to share information about baseball from the 1920s and ’30s, including some that was esoteric even for avid, adult fans. Then Christian began to relate memories of what seemed like a past adult life as a baseball player; Byrd figured out that Christian believed that he was Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees. Byrd was initially unsure what to make of her son’s disclosures and sought counsel from multiple sources, including Jim B. Tucker, a well-known professor of psychiatry and neurobehavorial science. Byrd’s memoir almost reads like a suspenseful novel, and readers are sure to be gripped by the possible explanations she provides for Christian’s seemingly inexplicable memories. She also thoughtfully reflects on her own spirituality and the ways in which her son’s revelations challenged her Christian faith: “I was particularly interested in finding out why the concept of living more than one lifetime was incompatible with Christianity….Much to my surprise, I could not find a single scripture in the Bible that repudiates reincarnation.” On the whole, this is an affecting portrayal of parenthood and an affectionate love letter from a mother to her unusual child.

An eclectic mix of mystery, memoir, and the supernatural. 

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4019-5342-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Hay House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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