An intense, compelling account relates the romantic turmoil and physical pain experienced by a career woman diagnosed with...

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I Am Enough

MY JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY AND ACCEPTANCE

An accountant and mother of two daughters writes candidly about her struggles with love, life, and suffering. 

This debut memoir opens with a traumatic scene. While preparing dinner for herself one night, the author, a longtime lupus sufferer, tripped on her dog’s toy rope and knocked herself unconscious. Too weakened from her disease to stand up, she awakened and crawled toward a telephone to call for help, hoping that one of her daughters would come home soon and find her. Eventually, she fell into a kind of existential limbo, forced to consider why she was alone and urine-soaked on the floor. She lamented her failing relationship with Dave, a fellow accountant who came into constant conflict with her teenage daughters. And although she loved her daughters and wanted to preserve their independence as much as possible, she also resented them for not being more of a help in trying times. In subsequent chapters, Miguel revisits the emotional difficulty of watching her father gradually waste away from lupus, her problematic romance with Dave, her failed first marriage, and her increasingly contentious relationships with her daughters and extended family. Ultimately, the work concerns how suffering is as much a physical experience as an emotional one. The trials that Miguel and her circle faced reveal their flawed humanity. With a deft sense of pacing, the author vividly portrays each person in the narrative (“He was tan, twenty pounds lighter, and had an inner glow”). As a character, Miguel is fully formed: her weaknesses are as sharply drawn as her strengths (“The optimistic attitude I usually possessed had quickly and unknowingly been replaced with a victim mentality”). While the memoir becomes repetitious in its descriptions of Miguel’s numerous physical difficulties, the tight, clear prose remains compelling (“Since the cruise, it felt as though I were being placed back into a cell to finish out a life sentence”). Her surprising visit to a doctor later in the book (her lupus, it seems, may have been misdiagnosed) acts as a much-needed twist: what is the point of Miguel’s suffering? More important, how has her pain informed her relationships, and how will she change her behavior and attitude going forward?

An intense, compelling account relates the romantic turmoil and physical pain experienced by a career woman diagnosed with lupus.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5043-3857-8

Page Count: 360

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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