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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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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