A lifetime dog-lover experiences the pleasures and pitfalls of domesticating a wolf-dog hybrid.

In order to claim her from a breeder, Terrill (Science Writing and Environmental Journalism/Concordia Univ.; Unnatural Landscapes: Tracking Invasive Species, 2007) frantically drove through the night to claim her newly born female “wolfdog” from a local breeder. “Inyo” became a welcomed distraction after narrowly escaping an abusive relationship. The breeder was quick to educate Terrill on owner-specific etiquette and common misperceptions of wolfdog ownership. However, as the author details in her richly descriptive narrative, upon moving to Reno, Nev., with financially challenged new husband Ryan, she learned these lessons personally after much time spent grappling with precocious Inyo’s unwieldy behavior and the intensive training and domestication rituals involved in establishing herself as the “alpha.” Terrill knows her territory extremely well (she’s formerly a Northern California Forest Service wilderness ranger), and she peppers the narrative with interesting knowledge about the nature of wolves, their interspecies behavioral traits, diet and the serious consequences challenging this type of unorthodox pet ownership. In the good-natured attempt at making Inyo suitable for human companionship, the author adopted two more dogs, and things worsened uncontrollably. Vicious, unprovoked attacks on neighborhood animals, coupled with evictions, irate neighbors and serious bodily injuries, finally necessitated drastic measures against a breed who “neither need nor want a bond with humans.” Complimenting each chapter—and, at times, surpassing the main narrative for its sheer factual noteworthiness—are the informational asides found in the author’s generous 18-page Notes section, which includes expanded research material on the Canis species, observations from other wolfdog owners and breeders and the statutory regulations concerning the care and protection of the breed. Readable, cautionary and dependably informative for staunch animal enthusiasts.  


Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-3481-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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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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...


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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