A relatable, even-keeled, well-written account of the struggles and triumphs of infertility treatment.

LOVE SONG FOR BABY X

HOW I STAYED (ALMOST) SANE ON THE ROCKY ROAD TO PARENTHOOD

A lesbian couple faces infertility in the midst of a historic moment in California's marriage-equality movement.

Some couples trying to conceive step into a sperm bank as a last resort. Poet Dumesnil (In Praise of Falling, 2009, etc.) and her partner started there, but her first pregnancy ended in a blighted ovum—or might have, as she shares an experience that led her to question her dismissive doctor's reading of the ultrasound. She had another miscarriage, then another, which, in the words of a bizarrely cheerful doctor, "w[on] [her] a ticket to endocrinology!” Though she expresses her sadness and worry, Dumesnil does not use her circumstances as an excuse to treat others badly. She complains about her HMO but appreciates that her endocrinologist did not “bat an eye at these lesbian wannabe mamas in his doorway." Her experience speaks to the loss of control many accomplished women feel when they try to get pregnant: "[E]very other time I've wanted something—like a graduate degree, or a job—all I had to do was work hard to get it…if pregnancy was a merit-based reward, I'd be so pregnant right now." After her miscarriages, Dumesnil decided not to make plans based solely on pregnancy, which led her to write about, and participate in, the same-sex marriages taking place at the San Francisco City Hall in 2004. Just days before getting married, the author found out she was pregnant. Hours after her televised wedding, she learned that an injunction had stopped the marriages, and she pushed past her anxiety and fatigue to march in protest. Dumesnil's ability to handle disappointment and setbacks with grace and humor, along with her engaging writing style, make this an engrossing read.

A relatable, even-keeled, well-written account of the struggles and triumphs of infertility treatment.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-19354396-3-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Ig Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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