Fresh, whip-smart wisdom that will appeal most to women battling weight and self-esteem issues.

F*CK YOUR DIET

AND OTHER THINGS MY THIGHS TELL ME

Comedian and former journalist Hilliard shares embarrassing and empowering moments throughout a life obsessed with body image and food.

In her first book, the author delivers a highly personal assessment with self-deprecating humor and frank honesty. As a “chunky” only child raised in Brooklyn, Hilliard was relentlessly bullied in school due to her statuesque size (6 feet, 1 inch) and higher-than-average weight. Early depression and self-loathing habits soon followed. The author shifts partial blame for her negative relationship with her body and food to biological growth spurts and an upbringing in which her working-class parents succumbed to the easy conveniences of processed fast food, an eat-everything-you-are-served mentality, and ignorance about exercise and balanced nutrition. This uncomfortable reality solidified itself into Hilliard’s psyche as an adult, when she continued wrestling with the scale and her self-image as a black woman. Her book addresses “nearly forty years of failures” and episodes of yo-yo dieting and struggling to thoroughly love herself. She chronicles her first encounters with love, her brief idea of pursuing a basketball career, a brush with a near-fatal infection, and her liberating defiance in the face of societal standards of beauty and body size. “White women get to be plain-Janes,” writes the author. “Women of color have to be exotic in order to be celebrated.” Though the author engages in plenty of chatty digressions—she takes due time to contribute spirited commentary on “Black Girl Magic,” fad diets, and the complexities of singledom and masturbation (“for far too long, women have downplayed their sexual satisfaction in order to boost their partner’s ego”)—these expository detours don’t detract from her core message of unconditional self-acceptance at any age in a woman’s life. Hilliard’s narrative, though occasionally scattershot, is informative, inspiring, and often hilarious.

Fresh, whip-smart wisdom that will appeal most to women battling weight and self-esteem issues.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982108-61-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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